EU investigates Madeira Tax Free Zone again
Thanks to Peter for sending me a link to Reuters, reporting that the European Commission on Friday said it had “opened an in-depth investigation into tax exemptions for companies on the Portuguese island of Madeira, assessing whether they constituted illegal state aid”. Under the programme, established in 1987, Portugal set up a regional aid scheme to attract companies to the island by reducing corporate taxes and providing exemptions from other levies.
“In particular, the Commission has concerns that tax exemptions granted by Portugal to companies established in the Madeira Free Zone are not in line with the Commission decisions and EU State aid rules,” the Commission, which oversees competition in the European Union, said in a statement. The Commission, which had approved the scheme in 2007 and 2013, added it was concerned Portugal was not respecting the conditions it had set out on those occasions.
In an initial response, Miguel Albuquerque, President of the Regional Government, said “It is not an offshore (tax haven) because it has no financial centre. Even a first-class student realises this”, referring in particular to the criticism of the International Business Centre of Madeira by socialist European MP Ana Gomes. “She deliberately does not want to know what the Business Centre is. She wants to play politics and harm Madeira. The MEP has been trying to undermine the economy of Madeira and its tax revenues. We have nothing to fear, because it is part of a normal context”, he added.
650 taxis to be banned from central Funchal?
Both the Diario and the Journal reported last week on the new mobility plan that could prevent the entry of taxis registered prior 2001 into central Funchal. “A catastrophic measure” was how the Industrial Taxi Association of the Region described the proposal, which they claim will prevent 80% of the regional fleet, about 650 taxis, from circulating in the city centre. A spokesman said “For all intents and purposes, what was presented yesterday (PAMUS – Action Plan for Sustainable Urban Mobility), in which it is clear …….. that the House intends to implement a ZER [Reduced Emission Zone] ….. preventing the entry and movement of vehicles prior to 2001 ‘, he stressed.
I am not sure that 80% of taxis in Funchal are more 17 years old?
World Cup “Shithousery”
One of the advantages of being Portuguese when a World Cup takes place is that when their national team exits they can switch their allegiance to Brazil, being the largest country to have Portuguese as its official language. Unfortunately the bookies favourites were also eliminated last night, but not before their current star, Neymar, had the opportunity to show off his theatrical, as well as football, skills again – on one notable occasion in his previous game he went down in convulsions as if he had been stunned with a cattle prod. One TV company worked out that he had spent 13 minutes and 50 seconds lying and rolling on the grass this world cup in just three group matches.
The efforts of a large number of players influence a referees decision, according to the Guardian, has given rise to the interesting appearance of the wonderful word “shithousery” to describe all of the dark arts employed on a football field. Not a new word – goes back to Liverpool in the 1960’s according to the Guardian write-up.