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Horta ,  November 28, 2019

Rui Bettencourt highlights intensification of defence and affirmation of the Azores in Europe and the world in 2020

The Regional Assistant Secretary of the Presidency for External Relations stated today in Horta that 2020 will be “a year of intensification” of government action towards the defence and affirmation of the Azores in Europe. According to him, this will be “a qualitative leap” in the affirmation and recognition of the Azoreans as a people around the world.
"Throughout 2020, our intervention will intensify along the broad strategic lines that guide the Government's actions," said Rui Bettencourt, who spoke at the Legislative Assembly in the context of the discussion of the proposed Plan and Budget for 2020.
The Secretary for External Relations stressed the fact that “a new political and institutional cycle” will start in the European Union in 2020 with a new European Parliament and a new European Commission.
“This new cycle will be marked by the preparation of the Multiannual Financial Framework for 2021-2027, which is so important for us in a difficult context, as it will begin at a time of constraints on the EU budget and without Azorean MEPs. This is also a crucial moment when the European Parliament plays a crucial role and holds significant power," stressed the government official.
"The reality leads us, therefore, to consider 2020 a sensitive, important and crucial year in the process of affirming and defending the Azores in Europe," said the Regional Secretary.
In his speech, Rui Bettencourt recalled the contacts and meetings in which the Regional Government has been participating to defend the Azorean position. It has mobilised everyone at the European Council, the European Parliament, the European Commission, the Committee of the Regions, interregional associations, the Conference of Presidents of the Outermost Regions and in all places “where the Azores are discussed and decided on."
“The Azores defend the position that we can neither accept cuts on the Cohesion Policy, Common Agricultural Policy, POSEI or Fisheries, nor the reduction of the co-financing rate from 85% to 70%, which would lead the Region to double the investment effort by involving community funds,” reiterated the Regional Secretary. As he stressed, this would represent "an effort from the Regional Government that would increase from 200 to 400 million Euros to achieve the same level of Community investment."
There has been “a strong movement to understand and even join” the Azorean position, the Regional Secretary said, stressing how "mobilising, how understood and how aggregating" these positions are.
"All this understanding of the Azores and this adherence to the Azorean position not only awakens us, but also drives us to a new level of affirmation of the Azores," stated the government official.
"Until the final approval of the amounts and regulations of the Multiannual Financial Framework, we will not rest, we will not lower our vigilance and we will not diminish our firmness," said the Secretary for External Relations.
The Regional Secretary also considered that the Multiannual Financial Framework is still “a long path” and “it will not be a smooth one,” but stressed the intention to “walk firmly.”
Rui Bettencourt also highlighted the fact that 2020 is the year of preparation of the Azorean Presidency of the Conference of Presidents of the Outermost Regions and the Portuguese Presidency of the European Union in 2021, where the Azores intend to play an "influential role."
Regarding the Azorean Diaspora, the government official said that “2020 will be a remarkable year” since it will be “the year of implementation of the recently created Azorean Diaspora Council. This entity aims to recognise all Azoreans around the world, regardless of where they live and the generation they belong to."


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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