Cabinet to approve diplomas for new Lisbon airport decision process

  • Lusa
  • 27 September 2022

The Cabinet "will approve a resolution that will define the methodology for conducting and deadline on the strategic environmental assessment (SEA), among other decisions.

Portugal’s prime minister announced on Tuesday that the government will approve on Thursday the initial set of diplomas of the process for deciding the new Lisbon airport, changing the powers of local authorities over aerodromes of national interest.

This schedule on the approval of the first diplomas in the Cabinet was transmitted by António Costa at the opening session of the VI Tourism Summit, at the Champalimaud Foundation, in Lisbon, in a speech that dedicated around 30 minutes to the history of the controversial and systematic changes of position in relation to the location of the new airport.

This Thursday, according to António Costa, the Cabinet “will approve a resolution that will define the methodology for conducting and deadline on the strategic environmental assessment (SEA), as well as the draft law that will allow parliament to properly define the responsibilities of local councils in terms of licensing aerodromes”.

“They will have binding powers for class 1, 2 and 3 aerodromes, but not for category 4 aerodromes. That is, being infrastructures of national interest, the local councils are taken into account, but obviously cannot condition a decision that is for the whole country”, he stressed, after having criticised the power of veto, which he classified as unconstitutional, that two local councils had in relation to the Montijo option.

In his speech, the leader of the executive considered that several conditions are gathered that represent “a unique window of opportunity” to decide “well” and in an “irreversible” way about the new airport, because the government has a mandate until 2026, the local authorities for another three years until 2025 and the leader of the opposition [Luís Montenegro] for another two years until 2024.

“In this meeting of pessimists and optimists, there was this happy coincidence that, for the next two years, we will have stability: we will have the same government with a majority in parliament, the same opposition leader and the same mayors,” he pointed out.

António Costa said he was not hopeful that the new solution for the new airport would be consensual, ironically stating that it would only have the support of 20% and the opposition of 80%.

“What the political decision-maker must seek to ensure is that he decides with the best and most up-to-date information possible, and for this to happen, the strategic environmental assessment (SEA) must be carried out, through a process that everyone recognises as being completely transparent and that is beyond doubt. Discretely, throughout these months, it has been possible to negotiate an understanding with the opposition leader”, he revealed.