Portugal: ‘Cases of misuse, fraud’ with EU funds are ‘last thing’ that can happen – president

The Portuguese president on Monday warned that the “last thing” that can happen with European funds are “cases of misuse and fraud”, ensuring that the Portuguese “would not pardon” if that happened.

“The last thing that can happen in this execution [of European funds] is to squander funds, is to have cases of misuse, fraud, waste,” said Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, in Braga, at the opening session of the Conference European Funds: Minho and Galicia.

“If this were to happen, the Portuguese would not forgive. It is good to be aware of this and to be aware of it at the start, not in the middle or at the end. They would not and will not forgive”, he warned.

“We will have to work hard over the next few years. They will not be election campaign years, I hope. They will mainly be years of hard work. Elections are part of democracy, when they occur on expected calendars, they must occur. An early election is a bad sign, it is not desirable”, he said.

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa reaffirmed that the execution of funds is “an enormous responsibility, which requires a “permanent fluidity” between the State, Central Administration, Coordination Commissions and Regional Directorates and local authorities.   

“The funds are very important for the coming years but they are not enough for what we want for Portugal. We want much more private national and foreign investment, we want much more than the intervention of public authorities, we want much more than public investment, which is very important but not enough, “he said.