November 21, 2012
CABO GIRAO, Madeira Islands — The president of these Portuguese islands turned out, as he almost always does, for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at his government's latest showpiece investment: a panoramic steel-and-glass viewing point perched on what islanders claim to be Europe's highest cliff-top.
The price tag for the platform, parking lot and cafe was 2.5 million euros. That's a hefty outlay for a near-bankrupt archipelago of about 250,000 people which has 6.3 billion euros in public debt, needed a 1.5 billion euro bailout last year and has promised to be frugal. But development funds from the European Union, bankrolled by the continent's taxpayers, made it affordable by picking up 2 million of the tab.
. . .