Harsh new laws for motorhomes in Portugal in the works
"Obviously, we are very disappointed with you deputies," Paulo Moz Barbosa, president of the Autocaravanista Association of Portugal (CPA), told Lusa, who noted that he only knows what was reported in relation to the decisions taken by the Parliamentary Committee on Economy and is waiting for the final draft of the law for a complete and definitive assessment.
On Monday, deputies approved amendments to the parking of motorhomes, deciding that outside protected areas, overnight stays are allowed "for a maximum period of 48 hours in the same municipality" and suggesting the creation of a registration platform, changes that still have to go to the final vote in the plenary of the Assembly of the Republic.
Confirming what he read in the press, Paulo Moz Barbosa considered that "the deputies treat the motorhome drivers practically as a group of criminals" and that proposing a digital platform to locate the motorhomes "is practically putting an electronic bracelet on each motorhome operator".
"This is absolutely unbelievable. Therefore, it is hard for us to believe that the content of the law, when it appears in the Diário da República, will have this gravity," he said.
"If this goes forward, we will go, to the end of our strength, together with all possible and imaginary entities. President of the Republic, first, because he is the one who promulgates, the Constitutional Court in second place, and then, we are going to Europe", promised Paulo Moz Barbosa, for whom such legislation cannot be legal in a country of "democratic Europe".
The president of the CPA also regretted that the law insists on the question of overnight stays, a concept that motorhome drivers have fought "from the first moment".
"It simply shouldn't even exist in the law," said Moz Barbosa, who recalled that anyone can sleep in a legally parked car, which has no room or bathroom like a motorhome.
"Why is the motorhome can only be two days [in a municipality]?", he asked.
The president of the CPA warned that "Portugal will lose a lot with this measure, it is already losing", because it is the only European country with these limitations regarding overnight stays.
According to Moz Barbosa, between 250,000 and 300,000 motorhomes enter Portugal annually, which translates into "millions of euros" for the country.
Another aspect that the association wants to clarify by reading the final version of the legislation is the rules for parking in some parks on the coast, located less than 500 meters from the waterline, used by bathers to leave their cars and go to the beach.
For Moz Barbosa, it is not understandable that a motorhome cannot park in one of these parks for its owners to go to the beach and that they can only use specific parks.
As for the ban on overnight parking in protected areas and parking, the president of the CPA said he was in agreement, stressing that "in Portuguese law" "parking or camping is practically the same thing".
"Of course, whoever wants to take a vacation by putting on the awning, putting on chairs, will go to a campsite. We are perfectly in agreement," he said.
These amendments, now approved, improve, however, the legislation in force since January, acknowledged Moz Barbosa, because, he said, “they will allow, at least, that people start to circulate”, even with the limitations imposed in the coastal areas.
The rules of the Highway Code contested by the representatives of the motorhome drivers, which came into force in January, establish the prohibition of parking and overnight stays for motorhomes outside of expressly authorized places.