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Ponta Delgada ,  September 25, 2019

Azores are ready to face Brexit, says Rui Bettencourt

The Regional Assistant Secretary of the Presidency for External Relations stated in Ponta Delgada that the Azores are prepared to face "Brexit" and the difficulties that may arise from the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union.
"We will not face a direct impact but there will be indirect impacts, evidently," said Rui Bettencourt, who spoke Tuesday at the closing session of the "Brexit: Opportunities and Challenges for SMEs" seminar.
"The Azores and Azorean entrepreneurs have never had many straight years of easy business. Indeed, they are used to difficulties," said the Secretary for External Relations.
The government official stressed the fact that the Azores are in the middle of the Atlantic, "a dispersed region" with about 250 thousand inhabitants. They have a "very small and very dispersed economic market," where there are "nine small markets and one of which is a market with 400 people on Corvo and there is the transport issue; the Azores are 1,500 km from Mainland Portuguese, 3,500 km from Brussels and 4,000 km from New York.”
“We are used to these difficulties, even in a context where we are at the crest of the tourism wave, where we have a type of tourism that is sought after - nature tourism - and where we have now the much desired security," said the Regional Secretary.
"The difficulties we may have arising from Brexit are not frightening. This is the advantage we have and the message I would like to leave," said Rui Bettencourt.
In his speech, the Secretary for External Relations stated that "Britain will neither disappear nor leave the map.” Nonetheless, it “will be a third country at worst” and “a country with trade agreements that will continue on, that is, the trade agreements with Britain will not end at once, but will be hampered.”
The Regional Secretary also considered that “this process is being dramatic, especially for Great Britain.” It is “a very difficult process marked by internal division,” in which uncertainty “is the worst factor” it currently faces.
"The European Union will see a reduction in its commercial space and its mobility space for citizens. This saddens us, but we have to move on," said Rui Bettencourt.
"I must stress that there is an issue that deserves reflection on the part of the European Union," the government official said, recalling that, at the beginning of this process, there was the idea that “Brexit” would destroy Europe and that other Member States had expressed their intent to leave. On the occasion, he also noted that “Brexit has shown that such thing will not happen" and the other 27 Member States have joined in the face of Britain's eminent departure, which is also the result of the great political skills shown by Michel Barnier, the EU's main negotiator for this process.


Official government press-releases presented in all foreign languages interfaces of the Azorean Government Portal (Portal do Governo dos Açores) are a sub-set of the government's official press-releases daily output and are chosen for translation and publication on the foreign language interfaces based on audience segmentation criteria. The entire collection of the Azorean government press-releases is available in portuguese, here, from the GACS Press Office site.

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