Rio accuses the Government of a “financial orgy” at TAP, Costa responds that “there is no plan B”

In response, the prime minister said that “the worst way to negotiate with someone is to start by admitting the failure of your proposal and that you have plans B, C or D”, saying he hopes that the European Commission can “fully make viable” the current TAP’s restructuring plan until the end of the year.

In the debate on general policy with the prime minister in parliament, Rui Rio accounted for 4.5 billion euros of the funds that the government has already invested or plans to invest in the national air carrier, reiterating his criticisms of the reversal of the privatization of “a company bankrupt, which gives enormous benefits to its workers and lives off the taxes” of the Portuguese.

“TAP behaves authentically as a regional company, leaving the country, looking only at Lisbon airport”, he criticized.

For Rio, this configures “a double lack of respect for Portuguese taxes”: “Because it’s a monstrosity and because all the Portuguese are going to pay, it gives an average of 450 euros each”, he warned.

Alternatively, the social democrat leader defended that the pandemic could have been “the right time to start a company seriously and not burdened with vices behind”.

Rio directly questioned António Costa if he can guarantee that no more money will be invested “beyond the 4.5 billion already guaranteed”, if he will impose public service obligations on TAP and also “what is the plan B” if the European Commission does not authorize the restructuring plan for the company.

“Does the Government have any plan B for TAP in case the European Commission does not allow this financial orgy? What will it do if it says no?”, he asked.

“What is up to the Government is to support TAP in negotiating with the European Union, and that is what we are going to do. In this case, there is no plan B, there is only plan A, which is the best for the future of TAP and Portugal”, replied António Costa.

António Costa defended the option of reversing the privatization of TAP at the beginning of his first Government, considering that if this had not happened, the national air carrier would have “been dragged along by the vicissitudes of the private investor” David Neeleman.

“If we hadn’t taken a controlling position (…) we would no longer have TAP (…) I know you don’t appreciate TAP, which thinks its workers earn too much and have excessive benefits, but we now have TAP in recovery of its activity”, he reinforced.

António Costa stressed that no one could predict the “hecatomb” of the stoppage of commercial aviation for almost two years due to the covid-19 pandemic.

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