Porto and Lisbon present a decentralization proposal to the Government

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Last week in Porto, the mayors of Porto and Lisbon revealed that they are working on a proposal for decentralization of powers to hand over to Prime Minister António Costa.

This was not the first time that mayors and city councilors of both municipalities have worked together on this mandate. Fernando Medina, the mayor of Lisbon, recalled that it was in a similar meeting that the first proposal was issued so that the municipalities of Porto and Lisbon could have management competences in terms of urban road transport. He added that "it will take some time, but people will notice service improvements when transport systems, especially bus service are managed by City Halls."

On the meeting agenda were also issues related to tourism, taxation and investment. The two cities are on the way to a greater investment cycle and want to exchange insights and experiences on this and other matters.

The tourist tax was one of the topics of greatest interest to journalists and Rui Moreira recalled that Lisbon has a lot more tourism than Porto and the decrease in city centre population numbers has been happening for decades "long before tourism".

The mayor admitted that, like Lisbon, Porto should debate the issue as well, saying that "it would be a good subject for the forthcoming election campaign so that the next mayor can make a decision", ensuring that the tax will not be introduced this mandate in Porto. "This should be discussed openly," said Rui Moreira, who, however, argued that "if there is such a tax, revenue must be applied to improve the living conditions of families living downtown as to mitigating the tourist footprint."