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Calheta ,  June 10, 2019

President of the Government moves forward with proposal for creation of Council of Conciliation with Regional Autonomies

The President of the Government defended at the solemn session of the Azores Day a more permanent and stable form of conciliation and cooperation between the Autonomous Regions and the stable State, which may involve the creation of a Council of Dialogue with Regional Autonomies.
"The formalisation of this dialogue effort between the State and the Autonomous Regions could lead to the creation of a Council of Conciliation with Regional Autonomies composed of the members of the National Government and of the Regional Governments. This body would have the mission to enhance the role of Autonomous Regions in State functions, either through participation and collaboration in the exercise of State powers in those Regions or through the establishment, when necessary, of mechanisms for collaboration in their respective public policies and in matters of common interest. Moreover, it would be assigned with the responsibility monitoring European policies and the external action of the State so as to safeguard the effective participation of the Region in these matters," stated Vasco Cordeiro.
At the ceremony held in the municipality of Calheta, São Jorge, the President of the Government emphasised that a more permanent and stable form of conciliation between the Autonomous Regions and the State should be considered. According to him, "it should go beyond the casuistry of the moment, the party or of the decision-maker in a model that allows the identification of responsibilities between both parties and the introduction, if necessary, of measures for their clarification and, above all, their implementation for the benefit of the people."
"This issue, which has nothing to do with the competence or institutional layout of Autonomy, a matter on which the Legislative Assembly of the Region is already working on, and quite well, is fundamentally aimed at enhancing the conciliation between the National and Regional Governments in important matters for the Region, always in an integrated and concerted approach," stressed Vasco Cordeiro.
According to him, this proposal may become an institutional general and permanent framework on cooperation and conciliation between the Autonomous Regions and the State.
In his speech, Vasco Cordeiro also stressed that the Regional Autonomy is "one of the great success stories of democratic Portugal" for all that it has achieved over 40 years for the benefit of the Azoreans.
"The reality of what has been achieved in just over 40 years leaves no room for doubt, hesitation or uncertainty in stating that Regional Autonomy is one of the great success stories of democratic Portugal," said Vasco Cordeiro.
At the ceremony that included the bestowal of 29 Honorary Commendations, the President of the Government stressed that the merit of Autonomy is due to the results it has been able to achieve, but also due to fact that these results have been and will continue to be achieved based on the free and democratic expression of the Azorean People's will.
In this regard, Vasco Cordeiro recalled that the main health structures in 1976 were limited to the two largest islands and there were only health professionals throughout the Region, among them, less than 80 doctors and about 160 nurses.
"Over the course of four decades, our Autonomy, through the action of its own self-government bodies, including regional governments from different political parties, has created solutions for the various challenges that have arisen in this area. About 40 years later, we have three hospitals, 18 health centres, one hundred health units that make up the Regional Health Service that currently has 5,000 professionals, including more than 600 doctors and nearly 1,600 nurses," stated the President of the Government.
"The results in other areas are quite enlightening," Vasco Cordeiro stated, pointing out the evolution that contributed to the increase from 25 thousand consultations a year in 1984 to almost 830 thousand in 2018. In turn, the number of surgical interventions grew from 5,000 in 1984 to almost 26 thousand in 2018.
Additionally, the President of the Government recalled that the infant mortality stood at 27 deaths per 1000 live births, dropping to 2.7 deaths per 1000 live births in 2017.
In the area of oral medicine, the Region occupies a prominent place as far as the Regional Immunisation Programme is concerned, registering a coverage rate of around 99%.
"With regard to Education, our Autonomy has made the difference over 40 years in terms of infrastructures. In the early days of our Autonomy nearly 40% of localities in the Azores die not even have a school or conditions to provide access to the nearest one and today we have, among others, about 160 schools and 40 school groups. But above all, it has made the difference in what concerns the life of the Azorean People," stressed the President of the Government.
As for the early school dropout rate, the President of the Government mentioned that, two decades ago, in 1998, it surpassed 60% among young people aged between 18 and 24 who failed to complete secondary education and were not enrolled in the educational or vocational training system In 2018, this rate stood at 28.3%.
"In the 1989/1990 school year, the dropout rate in regular education was 6.7%, while in the 2017/2018 school year it was 0.5%. This is directly related with Autonomy," stated Vasco Cordeiro.
"And so on in all sectors and in all areas of our collective experience. But those who want interpret my words as the defence of the "status quo" or as the belief that our situation could be worse are quite wrong," said the President of the Government.
"In mentioning these examples, I do not want to ignore the size of the challenges that still lie ahead of us, for example, the reduction early school dropout, which is still the highest in the country. There are other indicators to be improved, namely those related to the consumption of alcohol, tobacco or narcotic substances or the reduction of surgery waiting lists, among others," stated the government official.
According to Vasco Cordeiro, these results and the fact that this process has developed under the appropriate terms and with the protagonists that the Azoreans have freely decided through their vote is another "aspect that confers prestige and dignifies a Regional Autonomy that makes a difference, regardless of its protagonists, in the life of the Azorean People."
"Our path and our future are closely linked to our Autonomy as a fundamental tool, and I would even say, a vital tool for the Azores and the Azoreans," said the government official.
"From the Government and the opposition of the present as well as from governments and oppositions of the past, various measures and proposals have emerged for the benefit of the Azoreans. In fact, they have made Autonomy the most important achievement for our development and the safeguarding of our future," said the President of the Government.
According to him, it is essential to have the clarity and awareness to realise that the importance and the core values of this tool, which is Autonomy, still need to be "defended and preserved."
"Defended and preserved from false autonomists; defended and preserved from outspoken centralists," stressed the President of the Government.


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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