'Year End Review 2018' The year of fire and heat

in News · 03-01-2019 15:12:00 · 0 Comments

The past year saw Portugal emerge from extended periods of economic downturn to outgrow even its European partners.

On a negative front though, the year was once again marred by devastating wildfires, and while they were not as fatal as those seen in 2017, the damage caused was extensive and lasting.
There were also a series of reports on local lodging, with a set of revisions introduced to minimise the effects this practice was reportedly having on residential areas in major urban centres while also being given the blame for spiralling housing costs.
There was also strong opposition to a tourist tax for the Algarve, with a number of major players on the regional and national tourism scene venting their opposition to the levy that was approved by the Algarve inter-municipal council board, AMAL.
Calls were also made from within the governing alliance this year targetting measures and exemptions aimed at increasing investment in Portugal, most notably by foreigners in the real estate sector.

European Member of Parliament Ana Gomes, a stalwart of the ruling Socialist Party, led the attack against the popular golden visa investment scheme.
She claimed that the golden visa system is a “perverse scheme” and is “a system that prostitutes European citizenship and is a threat to the safety of the Schengen zone. She added that is a scheme importing corruption and organised crime to the European Union.
Despite seemingly saying the right thing when questioned about immigration and refugees, Portugal rejected around two out of every three asylum requests in 2017. Only Poland, France, the UK, Hungary and Croatia were more likely to refuse entry to refugees.
Arguably the major story of the year was the wildfires that hit the western Algarve, which at times threatened to reach unprecedented proportions.
However, firefighters did a notable job in avoiding any fatalities, while also putting their lives at risk on numerous occasions to save people’s property.
With major reforms now in place, the hope is that the terrible fires of 2017 and 2018 will be confined to the history books and will never be repeated.

To read the Year End Review in full, please see the hard copy of the The Portugal News, Edition 1507, or see the e-paper of this week’s edition, at www.theportugalnews.com


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