Due to lack of financial means, as a result of the fiscal crisis and the austerity policies, Portugal’s Environment and Land Planning Minister Pedro Afonso de Paulo stated that the country may be unable to pay for protection of the coastline from the impacts of erosion and rising sea levels.
According to studies commissioned by the Government of Portugal, almost 30% of Portugal’s coastline is seriously eroded. The impacts of climate change may be severe for coastal areas and may force local communities to migrate to safer inland parts of the country. “In some areas, we may have no medium-term solution, other than moving people”, the Minister remarked at a conference on spatial planning organised in March by the Municipality of Vila Franca de Xira. Apart from coastal stabilisation and protection infrastructure, Minister Afonso de Paulo said that strict legislation may also be needed in order to forbid building along the coastline.