Carnaxide, Portugal, Mar. 1 (Lusa) – Portugal’s prime minister, António Costa, announced on Wednesday that the cabinet meeting scheduled for 21 March is to approve the “forestry package” – a group of bills that are to constitute the basis for a structural reform of the sector in a country that has one of the highest proportions of forested land in Western Europe.
Costa was closing a ceremony to mark Civil Defence Day, attended by the minister for internal administration, Constança Urbano de Sousa. In his speech, he criticised the lack of far-reaching measures in the sector in the past decade.
“It’s time for us to do now in the forest a reform with the scale of the reform that 10 years ago was done in civil defence,” Costa said. “The public discussion has been concluded and in cabinet on the 21st the forestry package will be approved that will make it possible to lay the foundations to start the forestry reform.”
The prime minister went on to explain that the reform was to be of a “medium-term” nature whose effects would not be immediate, and criticised the way the sector had been managed of late.
“Unfortunately, these last 10 years were not made the most of as they should have been,” he said. “We may even have excellent means of combatting forest fires, but either we do now what has not done been in the last 10 years at the level of structural prevention, or the risks will always be increasing and the resources will always be increasingly insufficient.”
In his speech, Costa described Portugal as a country with “high levels of security” – a characteristic that he argued even benefits it from an economic point of view – and identified civil defence as “an important pillar” in this respect.
PMF/ARO // ARO.
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