“The rugged terrain of the island of Madeira has always been a major obstacle to population mobility, but over the last two decades there has been an extraordinary effort to build new road infrastructures, which has led to a radical change in terms of accessibility,” Fino said.

He spoke at the reception of 30 members of the Slovenian Road Association of North-East Slovenia in Funchal, in which he highlighted the “great challenges” imposed by the “natural characteristics” of the network of roads, tunnels and bridges.

“Madeira is undoubtedly an example of planning, financing, building, modernising and maintaining roads that allow safe and rational traffic,” he said.

The Road Association of North-East Slovenia was established in 1985 in the city of Maribor, Slovenia, and brings together elements from various business areas, including construction and transport professionals and amateurs.

The purpose of the visit to Madeira is to share knowledge, considering the autonomous region is an “example” of road investment.

Pedro Fino stressed that next year the Presidency of the Council of the European Union will be divided between two countries - Portugal in the first semester and Slovenia in the second semester - and that it is therefore important to show this country “the excellent use of structural funds in the region, which have enabled the development and improvement of the quality of life of the populations”.

Since its foundation, the Road Association of North-East Slovenia has organised educational and professional excursions to showcase road transport projects and solutions in various parts of Europe.

“The idea behind these initiatives is to establish useful contacts and exchange professional experiences with foreign experts in road construction and transport, thus broadening their professional horizons,” explained Pedro Fino.