quarantine for more than 15 million inhabitants in Italy

quarantine for more than 15 million inhabitants in Italy

The Portuguese “economic miracle”, myth and realities

Having left the austerity policy imposed by Brussels in 2014, Portugal is today an example in terms of economic recovery. A demand-driven stimulus policy based on the property market and tourism. Good results that hide a darker reality. In Portugal, in the streets of central Porto, Rui Le Costa stops every 200 meters near a building he has renovated. “Here on this street, we have this building which we will soon renovate with the funds of an international investor, he explains. In this case, an investor from Miami. And there, right next to it, we have a project that is almost complete. A hotel that was funded by a Mexican group. ” Giant real estate renovations From two studios purchased in 2014, he now manages a building stock of 75 apartments. His company Feel Porto specializes in the purchase and rehabilitation of buildings for short-term rental. “And this seven-story building is going to be turned into apartments for short-term rental,” he said. To renovate all of these buildings, Rui had to rely on foreign investors. “We have Spanish investors, French people, we have Italians, English people. And we also have investors from the American continent, in this case Brazil, the United States and Canadians.” In 2011, to get out of the austerity policy imposed by Brussels, the country wanted to attract foreign capital. Nationals who invest in real estate will be able to benefit from tax exemptions. In barely three years, it’s a tidal wave. Rehabilitation projects are flourishing. And the city centers of Porto and Lisbon are crowded with tourists. For Rui, the crisis has become a cash machine. Last year, his company billed 2.5 million euros for short-term rentals. “From here you can see the quantity of cranes. This really shows the strength of the rehabilitation market in central Porto in recent years.” Those left behind by the “economic miracle” Portugal is earning almost 5 billion euros thanks to this plan to revive the real estate and tourist market. No more austerity policies, the country proudly announces that it has emerged from the crisis. But who are the people left behind in this so-called “economic miracle”? In the heart of the old town of Porto, Irma feels more and more foreign in her own neighborhood. “It has changed a lot, we have lost a lot of people in the historic center,” said Irma Sousa, social worker at the Porto City Hall. Because the rents have increased exponentially. And the incomes especially of the most cannot bear the prices charged today. We talk for these people about a retirement pension of 250 or 280 euros per month and with that, today you cannot even pay for a room in the city center . ” There too is a building for sale. In 2012, the government amended the law in favor of owners. The eviction of occupants in the event of renovation of the premises is facilitated. Otelinda, 74, lives on the ground floor of this degraded building. “This is my room,” said Otelinda de Jesus Pinto, who lives in the old town of Porto. Before, it was my son’s room. ” She has lived all her life in this house. The day before, she received a notice of eviction for unpaid bills. Dozens of evictions each month With a pension of 282 euros per month, the rent became unaffordable for her. “The decision says that you are going to have to return your house. And he asks you to pay 3906 euros. What will I do now that I have received this eviction notice? I will have to gather my things and everything In these old houses where we live, where we have always lived, where we raised our children, where we have our roots, this is what the government should be concerned about, not tourists! ” In Porto, the liberalization of the rental market leads to dozens of evictions each month. Portugal is an example in terms of economic recovery: 2% growth per year and an unemployment rate below 8% in 2019. But for economist Jose Reis, of the University of Coimbra, these flattering results hide a very different reality. “Yes, it’s true, the trade balance is balanced but balanced because of the services sector and especially tourism which practices very low wages. There are the limitations imposed by the requirements of Brussels. And the restriction of having to send a significant part of the wealth, which is important for the development of the country and to pay the public debt, to pay the international creditors. It is a huge restriction which paralyzes the possibility of investing in the public sector. ” Public services in the harbor In Portugal, public services are the victims of the austerity policy. “The sun is shining and the conditions are perfect,” says Ruben Silva, a teacher. Matosinho beach. Ruben Silva gives surf lessons to children every weekend. “I only do this on weekends because the rest of the time, I’m in Lisbon.” In Lisbon, Ruben exercises his true profession, that of teacher. He chained precarious contracts for a salary of 1100 euros per month. To go to the capital every week and find accommodation, he spends half his pay. “I have a house in Porto and there I live in a youth hostel. It is a precarious situation, which affects my dignity. But I got used to it.” Ruben dreams every year of being established with his family in Porto. “They don’t know what it’s like to have to leave my child and my family every week. My son, he will never be 7 or 8 years old again. He asks me to take him to school. But I don’t can not.” Without giving these surf lessons, Ruben wouldn’t be able to do it. For ten years, to control the public deficit, the Portuguese government has frozen the salaries of civil servants. The multiple strikes in which Ruben participated did not change anything. “To give you an idea of ​​the drama that is unfolding, there are teachers who will never be able to reach the maximum salary level. No one wants to be a teacher anymore. Nobody. The only positions offered, nobody wants them. “You are going to do a replacement month, two months. With reduced hours of 10 or 15 hours. People ask me what I will do next year. I don’t know, I don’t know.” While waiting for a miracle in which he no longer really believes, Ruben continues to cover the 300 km that separate him from Lisbon each week. The abandoned public hospital Saint-Jean public hospital in Porto. In recent years, health care workers have regularly gone on strike. Miguel Guimaraes chairs the National Council of the Medical Association. Like all his colleagues, he denounced the lack of personnel and equipment in the health sector. He wants to show us the pediatric service. Children are hospitalized in this prefabricated building. It has been going on for ten years. “We are talking about the Saint John Hospital center here, explains Miguel Guimaraes. One of the best hospitals in Portugal. Imagine what is happening in hospitals in Veja, Evora, Porto Alegre … All these structures will not be renovated in the next ten or twenty years. This is very serious for all those working in the national health sector. Very harmful for our patients. Our political representatives may think that the crisis for them has already passed. But it did not pass for the Portuguese people. ” Every year, the exodus of doctors and nurses continues to increase. The austerity measures have ended for years, but many Portuguese people still have to bear the social cost of economic recovery. After 53 years in this building, Otelinda is evicted. For a few more days, she can enjoy the breathtaking view of her city. “I wanted to stay in my little house. But unfortunately it’s not always the way we want,” sighs Otelinda de Jesus Pinto, a resident evicted from the old town of Porto. Tourists from all over the world will soon take its place. His building should be rehabilitated as a hotel.



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