Close to you: Madeira's all-terrain MEP

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Nuno Teixeira, the Portuguese MEP for Madeira, is on board the 'Sea Wolf'. This ferry links his native island in the Atlantic Ocean to Porto Santo, another small island that is part of his constituency. These two islands are an outermost region of the EU. They're idyllic places for tourists, but very remote for their inhabitants. In Porto Santo, of course you can feel the presence of the EU because we are just arriving in the port that has been supported by the Cohesion Fund as well. The people also feel more and less abandoned because they still have some trouble mainly with connections and transport. The 5,000 inhabitants of Porto Santo depend heavily on this ferry link to supply their fuel, food and other consumer goods. Sometimes in wintertime, especially with the southwest winds, we have some problems if the wind is very strong. Is this the Spaniard? -Yes. But the outermost regions can sometimes have advantages. Nuno Teixeira is visiting an experimental plant that produces green energy using algae. The plant is a joint venture between Spain and Portugal. In a few weeks, nearly 90% of the electricity consumed on the island will be produced in an ecological way. Porto Santo is a wonderful place for cultivating micro-algae because one of the elements with the greatest impact on production is the temperature. The homogeneous and stable temperature we have in Porto Santo, with water practically at 22 degrees all year round... Today it's 24, I was told. Yes, but the average is 22. It's really a marvellous situation for cultivating micro-algae. When we think about outermost regions, we have to think of them not only as handicapped regions, but also as regions with assets that can be exploited by the EU. This project is very likely to benefit from the EU's Regional Development Fund to the tune of 50 million euros. Back on his native island, Nuno Teixeira goes to his next meeting. It's about the economic development of Madeira, where unemployment has risen from 4% in 2008 to 17% currently. Nuno Teixeira and Francisco Costa are campaigning for tax breaks for the island's companies. Some 800 companies left Madeira, the majority of them for Europe. These companies would pay about 160 million euros of income tax this year. We have lost this and we are losing jobs because, I repeat, we do not have the same conditions of competition as many other regions of Europe. But the big cause for concern in July in Madeira was the fires. Dozens of hectares of forest went up in smoke. The flames destroyed many houses. Madeira has neither helicopters nor planes to fight these fires. Nuno Teixeira has cancelled a meeting to remain close to his people. What we can do is see if there's any way to help in the future by trying to activate the EU Solidarity Fund on a regional catastrophe basis. We will look into that possibility in the coming days. Being known in politics also means promoting one's image. Nuno Teixeira has been invited by the local TV channel to swim with dolphins, a tourist attraction on the island. But there are young dolphins with their parents. It's impossible to swim with them as they could become aggressive. The dolphins are the bosses here. Whatever they say, and the marine biologists, we just accept their orders. I'm an all-terrain MEP. If I have to dive with dolphins, I will. My pleasure. This compared with Brussels is a lot better. But in Madeira Brussels seems a long way away, even for news professionals. Do you know what he is doing as a European parliamentarian? What is his task? I don't know exactly, because I... I don't know everything about politics, so I can't tell you exactly what he is doing. But I know he is doing good things. No matter. Nuno Teixeira still dives into the water for his fellow-citizens of Madeira.

EuroparlTV video ID: abd0a6be-5a17-457b-afe4-a0c30100f1fe

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