Category Archives: Portugal

(ECO) Bruxelas quer que os residentes também paguem taxa aeroportuária em Lisboa

(ECOBruxelas considera que a aplicação da taxa aeroportuária em Lisboa a apenas os passageiros não residentes é um ato de discriminação, pelo que exige que seja alargada também aos residentes.

A Comissão Europeia enviou, esta quinta-feira, um parecer fundamentando a Portugal reclamando que a taxa do aeroporto de Lisboa passe a ser conforme com as regras da União Europeia (UE) e também aplicável a passageiros residentes.

Bruxelas deu um prazo de dois meses para que a taxa do aeroporto de Lisboa seja aplicável também a residentes em Portugal, considerando que a cobrança apenas a não residentes constitui uma discriminação em razão da nacionalidade, o que viola as leis da UE.

O envio de um parecer fundamentando é a segunda fase do processo de infração e se a situação não for regularizada, a Comissão Europeia pode levar o caso perante o Tribunal de Justiça da UE.

(ECO) Endividamento da economia atinge novo recorde. São já 724.703.000.000 de euros

(ECOO endividamento da economia voltou a aumentar em maio, tendo atingido um novo recorde. O total do endividamento do Estado, empresas e famílias superou os 724 mil milhões de euros naquele mês.

Oendividamento da economia voltou a aumentar em maio, tendo atingido um novo recorde. O total do endividamento do Estado, empresas e famílias portuguesas superou os 724 mil milhões de euros naquele mês, o valor mais elevado de sempre, revelam os dados do Banco de Portugal.

“Em maio de 2018, o endividamento do setor não financeiro situava-se em 724,7 mil milhões de euros, dos quais 322,4 mil milhões respeitavam ao setor público e 402,3 mil milhões ao setor privado”, detalha o banco central na nota de informação estatística divulgada esta quinta-feira.

“Relativamente a abril de 2018, o endividamento do setor não financeiro aumentou mil milhões de euros, em resultado do incremento de 300 milhões de euros no endividamento do setor público e de 700 milhões de euros no endividamento do setor privado”, acrescenta ainda.

Endividamento da economia atinge novo recorde

O montante em dívida por parte do setor não financeiro representa quase cinco vezes o valor da riqueza bruta produzida pelos portugueses num ano. Os últimos dados disponibilizados pelo Banco de Portugal, relativos a março, colocavam o endividamento nos 369,6% do Produto Interno Bruto (PIB) nacional.

Maio marcou mesmo um recorde no que toca à dívida pública na ótica de Maastricht, a que conta para Bruxelas, tendo superado os 250 mil milhões de euros em termos brutos. Mas é expectável que o endividamento público venha a registar uma descida ao longo do ano — sobretudo depois do reembolso ao mercado de um montante de 6,6 mil milhões de euros em junho.

No que toca à dívida privada, o Banco de Portugal explica que houve um aumento do endividamento externo das empresas em 500 milhões de euros. Já as famílias e particulares registaram um crescimento do endividamento face ao setor financeiro de 200 milhões de euros.

(Forbes) Is Portugal the Next Fashion Capital of the World?

(Forbes) There was the October 2017 relaunch of its local Vogue edition – which has since taken a visual direction that seemingly prioritizes artistic freedom over commerce – in addition to being the native land of the founder behind luxury e-tail giant Farfetch. Add to that, the export of some of the modelling industry’s most in-demand faces. Plus, local manufacturers dealing with demand from luxury apparel houses the world over. In short – the ingredients allowing Portugal to be integrated into the global fashion conversation, in an unprecedented manner.

Vogue Portugal’s July 2018 cover.BRANISLAV SIMONCIK/LIGHTHOUSE PUBLISHING.

Nonetheless, in what appears to be a coming ofage process, the country’s local fashion designers are yet to join the ranks of their more esteemed Europe-based counterparts. Amidst it all, is Eduarda Abbondanza. She founded Lisbon’s fashion week  – which goes by the name of “Moda Lisboa” – in the year 1991. The bi-annual fashion event wrapped its 50th edition in the first quarter of this year. Over the course of more than two decades, the fashion week’s founder has witnessed the rise of now-Victoria’s Secret Angel Sara Sampaio, the Cabral brothers, the Sampaio twins and current face of Paco Rabanne’s Pure xs fragrance Francisco Henriques.

Brazil’s São Paulo Fashion Week has successfully implemented the strategy of placing Brazil-born model powerhouses on its runways, as  a means to garner credibility in an international fashion context. A strategy, Abbondanza is all  too familiar with. “These models, with their (international) social media following, are great communication tools for Portuguese designers. It’s not always easy to get the big-name Portuguese models to return, due to their complicated schedules. That doesn’t mean they do not return however. The models develop a special relationship with Moda Lisboa, plus they enjoy spending time with family and friends while in town. So whenever they have the opportunity they come back to Lisbon – where they started their career.

According to the Moda Lisboa founder, it isn’t a lack of creativity withholding Portugal’s designers from being celebrated in ways similar to fashion week headliners from London, Paris and Milan. Greater investment in communications however, is what Abbondanza believes will elevate the international profile of local fashion creatives. “The Portuguese market is very small, therefore it is essential that local brands build strong communication strategies focused on foreign markets. This will create further opportunities for growth, and allows them to showcase and sell their designs abroad.” Miguel Vieira is amongst the Portuguese names which have recently started targeting key international markets in a more aggressive manner. Vieira has become a regular on the Milan fashion week calendar over the past couple of seasons. His peer, Patrick de Pádua, recently showcased his latest collection in Germany, as part of a stint at Berlin fashion week.

In the meantime, longtime Moda Lisboa media partner Vogue Portugal has also been doing its part in making the world take notice of the country’s fashion cred. It’s not until a recent change in art direction however, that the magazine’s creative efforts are met with rave reviews from the international fashion community. One of the magazine’s three April 2018 covers – featuring a nude portrait of models Fernando Cabral and Alba Galocha shot by photographer Branislav Simoncik – enjoyed a viral moment on social media. A remarkable feat in today’s publishing environment, when not relying on celebrity power or shock value.

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“The new path of Vogue Portugal points to a more minimalist way, yet not less bold nor less profound in its printed language. Covers are now much cleaner, and we have only one cover line conveying the main message,” Sofia Lucas says. Lucas is the Editor-in-chief of Vogue Portugal and acts as the CEO and co-founder of Lighthouse Publishing – the company which publishes GQ and Vogue in the Portuguese market. The Vogue editor further comments, “What the local industry needs to (re)discover is its origin – the wealth of its traditional fashion legacy. The world, as well as most Portuguese, have no idea what this legacy is. It is with this in mind that Vogue Portugal is developing a special project to be announced shortly. I am convinced that the latter will be a benchmark in the Portuguese fashion industry at large.”

As much as media support and marketing efforts matter, no growth shall occur if none of the aforementioned leads to a financial transaction. Online retail entity Farfetch, founded by Portuguese entrepreneur José Neves could act as a key patron of Portuguese talent in terms of commerce. “As a global marketplace we endeavor to create an environment where all the best local and international fashion brands can be leveraged and celebrated globally,” Candice Fragis says, Buying and Merchandising Director of the online shopping hub which brings an international network of boutiques and fashion brands to its shoppers. The company recently launched a Shop the worldsection on the Farfetch website, highlighting designers from parts of the world which the masses may not necessarily associate with fashion. Korea, Australia and Japan are amidst countries spotlighted. Portugal however, appears to be MIA from the list. At least for now. Per Farfetch’s Buying and Merchandising Director, “We have recently launched a ‘Shop the world’ curated set for both men and women, featuring key pieces from top performing brands by country. This will continue to evolve based on our collective global supply with a view to inspire and educate our customer about the breadth of our supply. That is, globally, as well as locally.”

(AFP) Skeletons and scares at Portugal’s dinosaur park

(AFP)

People visit the Dino Park, an outdoor museum with more than 120 models of dinosaurs, in Lourinha. Jose Manuel Ribeiro, AFP

LOURINHA, Portugal — Eyes popping in astonishment, his mouth hanging mutely open, seven-year-old Joel approaches the four-metre-high monster and stands nose-to-nose with one of the deadliest killing machines the world has ever known.

The full-scale Tyrannosaurus rex is just one of the prehistoric highlights on display at Portugal’s self-proclaimed “dinosaur capital,” a new theme park in one of the most fossil-rich regions in Europe.

“We have 120 large-scale reproductions of 70 different species, spread over 10 hectares,” Simao Mateus, Dino Park’s scientific director told AFP.

Although only recently opened, the park sits in a part of Portugal long famous among palaeontologists for its extraordinary array of fossilised remains.

The nearby town of Lourinha, an hour’s drive north of Lisbon, has been dinosaur-mad ever since the remains of a dozen of the creatures were discovered in the late 19th century.

It already has a dinosaur museum and dinosaur statues in metal or resin can be seen on its roundabouts, while pavements are decorated with paintings of dinosaur footprints.

“Lourinha is quite particular about its dinosaurs, so we should all enjoy” the new facility, Mateus said.

Visitors to the park are greeted by the rearing neck of a giant model Supersaurus — one of the largest dinosaur genera — announcing a collection as impressive as anything else to be found in Europe.

Imported from Germany, the resin statues are dotted throughout a forest route guiding budding palaeontologists through the eons when dinosaurs stalked the Earth.

Pride of place goes to two models of dinosaurs actually discovered in the town.

Lourinhasaurus was a sauropod — an immense, four-legged herbivore similar to Brachiosaurus or Diplodocus — that roamed the rainforests of western Laurasia around 150 million years ago.

That gentle giant is not to be confused with Lourinhanosaurus, a sharp-fanged and crafty hunter the size of a crocodile that lived in roughly the same era as Lourinhasaurus.

‘Creatures from their dreams’

Mateus says interest in the park has started strong, with 175,000 visitors through the gates in the six months since opening, despite a prolonged period of poor weather.

On this visit, to the backdrop of the roars and squawks of dinosaurs of all shapes and sizes, a gaggle of young schoolchildren gape up in awe at the T-rex, its huge jaws capable of gobbling each one in a single gulp.

Other little ones cluster around a model Iguanodon — a Cretaceous-era grazer — though one boy keeps his distance from the reptile’s giant spiky thumb.

For park employee Filipa Pedro, who has been handing out stone blocks, hammers, chisels and other tools to this next generation of geologists, the experience offers children a glance of a long-lost part of the planet’s past.

“Children love dinosaurs, they are like these mysterious creatures that come from their dreams,” she says.

“Thanks to lots of cartoons and films on the subject, their knowledge is impressive. So this park is bound to please them.”

(ECO) BCP vende ao Sana Hotels edifício que ocupa quase um quarteirão na Rua do Ouro

(ECOO BCP vai sair da Rua do Ouro. Acabou de vender este edifício, que ocupa quase um quarteirão da Baixa de Lisboa, ao Sana Hotels que, assim, se prepara para abrir a quarta unidade na capital.

Os bancos estão a afastar-se do centro de Lisboa. E o BCP não é exceção. O banco ainda liderado por Nuno Amado vendeu o edifício na Rua do Ouro, que ocupa quase por inteiro um quarteirão pombalino em plena Baixa de Lisboa, ao Sana Hotels, apurou o ECO. A instituição financeira junta-se assim ao BPI e à Caixa Geral de Depósitos, que estão de saída desta zona da capital para dar lugar às cadeias de hotéis que querem aproveitar o boom do turismo em Portugal.

O banco vendeu um dos seus edifícios mais emblemáticos ao Sana Hotels, mas sem recorrer a qualquer intermediário. Ou seja, o BCP fez esta operação diretamente com a cadeia de hotéis sem a ajuda de uma consultora, uma situação que não é muito comum dada a dimensão da operação, mas que pode acontecer consoante o comprador e o vendedor, explicou um especialista do setor ao ECO. Contactado, o BCP não quis comentar. Da parte do Sana não foi possível obter um comentário até à publicação deste artigo.

Fonte: Google Maps

Trata-se de um edifício de seis pisos, com uma área total que ronda os 8.850 metros quadrados. Ocupa quase um quarteirão, com frentes para a Rua do Ouro, Rua de São Nicolau e Rua dos Sapateiros. De acordo com a consultora Worx, o preço médio do metro quadrado para os edifícios comerciais (com o propósito de serem transformados para hotelaria) na Baixa de Lisboa ronda os 5.000 euros, o que, de acordo com os cálculos do ECO, avalia esta operação entre 40 e 50 milhões de euros. Não se sabe o valor final da transação.

O BCP junta-se assim ao BPI e à Caixa Geral de Depósitos que também estão a aproveitar a forte procura para venderem os seus edifícios na Baixa de Lisboa, numa altura em que o país continua a atrair muitos turistas. O banco liderado por Pablo Forero pôs à venda no início do ano um edifício emblemático na Rua do Ouro, aproveitando “uma altura em que há mercado para edifícios destes. É claramente uma oportunidade. Há uns anos não havia tanta procura”, como explicou fonte oficial do banco ao Expresso.

Seguiu-se depois o banco estatal. A CGD também avançou para a venda de um quarteirão na mesma rua, de acordo com Expresso, com o apoio da consultora Cushman & Wakefield num negócio avaliado em 60 milhões de euros. E antes do BPI, CGD e agora BCP, também o Novo Banco vendeu a sede histórica perto do Terreiro do Paço, um edifício emblemático que está a ser transformado em 28 apartamentos de tipologias T0 e T2 e que deverá ficar terminado em 2019.

Foi esta forte procura por imobiliário que levou os investimentos no segmento a atingir o valor mais elevado de sempre. “Todos os setores, sem exceção, revelaram performancesexcelentes e todos superaram as expectativas. No investimento em imobiliário comercial, 2017 foi um ano recorde, com quase 2.000 milhões de euros transacionados”, de acordo com um estudo da consultora JLL. Ou seja, aumentaram 50% face ao ano anterior, deixando “para 2018 um pipeline robusto que antevê mais um ano muito dinâmico”.

Os bancos nacionais estão a aproveitar a forte procura pelos edifícios numa das zonas mais caras da capital. E as cadeias de hotéis são as principais interessadas nestes ativos para responderem ao boom do turismo em Portugal, com os turistas a chegarem de carro, avião ou em cruzeiros.

O Sana Hotels tem sido uma das cadeias a aproveitar esta maré. Foi em 2013 que abriu o Epic Sana Lisboa Hotel, perto do Marquês de Pombal, num investimento que rondou os 70 milhões de euros. Dois anos mais tarde, abriu as portas do Evolution Lisboa Hotel, num investimento mais reduzido (40 milhões de euros), mas não por estar numa zona menos emblemática. Foi em pleno Saldanha que apostou num conceito mais futurista e dirigido ao cliente citadino.

O edifício do BCP, agora vendido ao Sana Hotels, fica em plena Baixa de Lisboa.

Além destes dois hotéis, está ainda presente no Parque Eduardo VII, através do Sana Lisboa Hotel. E agora também na Baixa de Lisboa. Com a compra do edifício do BCP, o Sana abre o quarto hotel, cumprindo o objetivo de chegar a uma das zonas mais prestigiadas da capital: a Baixa de Lisboa.

(ECO) Um sistema ferroviário em colapso – João Cunha

(ECO) O Governo transforma, há três anos, sectores como o ferroviário nas molas de amortecimento dos exercícios orçamentais.

Dez das 18 capitais de distrito não contam com um serviço ferroviário capaz de atingir pelo menos uma velocidade média de 90 km/h. Para três delas, aliás, não há sequer serviço. O último plano de desenvolvimento da rede data de 1974, literalmente no tempo da outra senhora. Se, no longo prazo, as perspectivas são inexistentes porque os governos não assumem objectivos estratégicos, na actualidade o dia-a-dia faz-se de supressões de serviços por falta de comboios, hoje mais massivas do que em qualquer outro período da história, incluindo as faltas de carvão de 1944-45 ou quando no final dos anos 80 se cozinhava já o fecho de muitos ramais.

As oficinas de manutenção são catedrais de comboios parados e sem pessoal, com saídas a todo o vapor e sem autorização para contratações, numa compressão de meios sem paralelo que se aprofundou com o virar da página da austeridade, em 2016, condenando CP e EMEF a viverem com menos do que no período da Troika.

Apesar dos repetitivos e histriónicos anúncios governamentais, a ferrovia sobrevive hoje com menos meios do que alguma vez teve. Se em 2016 planeava alugar comboios a Espanha para fazer face ao aumento da procura que a nova postura da CP induziu nos anos anteriores, em 2018 a empresa não consegue sequer manter a oferta que tinha em 2014. 30% das carruagens Intercidades estão paradas por falta de manutenção e muitas vezes mais de 50% das automotoras diesel que a CP opera estão também paradas porque, velhas e sem investimento, sofrem uma acelerada erosão. Além disso, cerca de 50% da sua frota carece de substituição imediata e outros 50% têm esse horizonte até 2025-2030.

É hoje habitual Beja passar alguns dias sem ter sequer uma automotora à disposição ou chegar a Braga não a bordo do Pendular, mas de um comboio regional sem qualquer conforto. É a face visível da pouco transparente execução orçamental deste governo, que abdicou de orçamentos rectificativos para corrigir desvios em rubricas importantes (impostos, despesas com pessoal) e recorre antes a expedientes menos controláveis para chegar ao número mágico (objectivo cuja importância não contesto, aliás).

O problema não assumido é a falta de dinheiro. Contrariamente à narrativa ensaiada, nenhum exercício orçamental pode fugir à natureza limitada dos fundos disponíveis. Incapaz de assumir escolhas difíceis nos temas preferidos dos seus parceiros parlamentares e das suas ruidosas clientelas, o Governo transforma, há 3 anos, sectores como o ferroviário nas molas de amortecimento dos exercícios orçamentais.

Sem anúncios nem pedidos de desculpa, paulatinamente, o governo gere um Ferrovias 2020 que de 2700 milhões de gordos anúncios passou a totalizar pouco mais de 1500 milhões, eliminando novas ligações e limitando objectivos de outras. Ao mesmo tempo que anuncia dotações orçamentais para pôr obra no terreno e repor o funcionamento de comboios parados nas oficinas, vai adiando a assinatura para lançar um novo concurso ou para admitir pessoal. Não são sequer cativações e cada expediente encontrado é ainda menos escrutinável e antecipável que o anterior. Na prática, a cada nova urgência corresponde maior dose de anúncios e novos adiamentos de execução.

Consegue o ministro Pedro Marques garantir que não existem avisos das estruturas do sector para a possibilidade de operação e infraestruturas colapsarem? Consegue Pedro Marques garantir que o que anuncia será por fim cumprido? Ou terá pelo menos a honestidade de sinalizar o que vai alterando e adiando?

Se a tutela não consegue poupar-nos ao espectáculo deprimente das suas acções e omissões, talvez fosse altura do primeiro-ministro assumir a pasta e reorganizar prioridades dentro do seu governo. Afinal de contas, se este é o resultado do virar de página da austeridade, o que devemos esperar quando voltarmos oficialmente a tempos de crise?

(EurActiv) China set to fully control Portugal’s power grid amid Europe’s inertia

(EurActiv)

The case could be a game changer when it comes to foreign investments in the EU, considering that currently the Commission lacks the proper legal framework to “protect”EU common interests. [Chiu Ho-yang/Flickr]

China is set to make further inroads into European infrastructure, as a state-owned company attempts to gain full control of Portugal’s power grid.

The case could be a game changer when it comes to third country foreign investments in the EU. Currently, the Commission lacks the proper legal framework to “protect” EU common interests and it could be a wake-up call to speed up the procedure to establish an investments screening mechanism.

In 2011, Portugal’s government was required to sell its stake in the country’s power grids as part of the terms of its €78 billion bailout programme, organised by the European Commission and International Monetary Fund.

China Three Gorges (CTG) quickly snapped up the 21.35% share of Energias de Portugal (EDP) for €2.7 billion but reportedly committed in 2012 to remaining a minority shareholder.

EURACTIV was informed that the CTG purchase was not notified to the European Commission and, as such, no assessment was carried out.

But the company is now pursuing a majority stake in EDP that, combined with shares owned by other state-owned enterprises (SOEs), would give China near full control of an EU country’s power system.

EU mechanism to veto foreign investment ‘not on the cards’

EU leaders will discuss on Friday options to “screen” foreign investment in strategic sectors, but a more far-reaching proposal that would allow blocking takeovers at EU level remains off the table for now.

EDP is also a big player in renewable energy, as it is the majority owner of EDP Renewables, the world’s fourth largest wind energy producer, which aligns with China’s own impressive forays into clean energy.

CTG, which boasts one of the world’s largest dams among its assets, has already tabled an offer for the EDPR shares not controlled by EDP, meaning if its offer for the parent company is accepted, it would control both entities.

EDP is currently considering a third offer that sources say is in excess of €10 billion. The Portuguese government does not oppose the sale.

If accepted, China would control the generation and distribution of Portugal’s power, as well as holding 25% of the management company that runs both the electricity and gas grids, Redes Energéticas Nacionais (REN), which is also held through a separate SOE.

The Portuguese case comes at a portentous time for the EU, which is currently trying to broker an agreement between the Commission, Council and Parliament on investment screening, after France, Germany and Italy asked the EU executive to act in February 2017.

Many European economies are concerned that if large-scale investments by third parties like China are not controlled, assets could be “looted”, according to French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire.

Chinese SOEs already control significant stakes in the Italian power grids, British gas network and Greece’s grid operator. The Port of Piraeus is also partly controlled by another state-run outfit.

A source close to the issue told EURACTIV that China’s “discretion” was getting dangerous. “They are patient. In most cases, they buy initially a small share with an aim to increase it in the long run,” the source said.

A first round of trilateral talks on investment screening kicked off on 10 July and EU trade boss Cecilia Malmström hopes for a final deal on the “priority file” before the end of the year.

Cecilia Malmström

@MalmstromEU

First Trilogue meeting with @EU2018AT and @EP_Trade on investment screening. Agreement that this is a priority file. We will do everything possible to finish this by the end of the year. @berndlange

When amending the Commission’s proposal, which was published last September, the Parliament decided that if one-third of EU member states judge that an investment screening process affects their interests, their views must be taken into account by the country in question.

In Portugal’s case, it is unlikely that other member states would trigger that option, given the isolated nature of the Iberian peninsula from the rest of Europe.

 

Portugal breaks 100% renewables mark but remains isolated

Portugal produced more power from clean energy sources in March than it actually needed, marking the first time in the 21st century that renewables have topped 100% of its production. But a dearth of energy connections with the rest of Europe remains problematic.

EURACTIV understands that Italy, Germany and France are pushing for an investment screening deal while some Visegrad countries, the UK, Croatia and Cyprus have expressed reservations.

Hungary’s Permanent Representation to the EU was asked to comment on the case but it declined to do so.

Under Commission scrutiny

Under its current investment policy instruments, the Commission does not assess individual FDI cases.

In a statement recently, Commissioner Malmström said that in its FDI proposal, the EU executive did not establish a country-by-country list of strategic sectors, but seeks to establish a coordination framework under which member states and the Commission may provide comments and opinions on FDI likely to affect security or public order.

EURACTIV asked about the role of the Commission, as coordinator of the bailout programmes, when it comes to privatisation of critical assets. Particularly, it asked whether the wider long-term political implications for the EU as a whole are considered when EU countries under bailout are forced to sell critical assets such as in the energy sector.

A source said that from a programme perspective, the primary interest of privatisations – apart from improving the performance of SOEs and in this way reducing fiscal risks – was to reduce the financing needs of the state and to improve debt sustainability.

To the extent that relevant EU law was respected, programme partners did not have a mandate or the capacity to look into all the terms of privatisation procedures implemented during the programme period, the source explained.

As for the strategy to purchase a small number of shares and then expand gradually to full takeover, the same source noted that the Commission had to approve acquisitions of control under the EU merger regulation when the companies involved meet certain thresholds.

“Those thresholds are based on the turnover of the companies involved and ensure that only deals of a certain size have to be notified and approved. The requirement to obtain Commission approval applies regardless of the sector and regardless of the nationality of the acquirer. It therefore also applies to acquisitions by Chinese SOEs in the energy sector,” the source said.

The same source added that although acquisitions of control had to be approved, acquisitions of a non-controlling stake in a company do not have to be notified and approved to the Commission.

“However, this does not mean the EU Merger Regulation can be circumvented by acquiring a company gradually, through purchases of a small number of shares.”

If a company first acquires a non-controlling stake and then later increases its stake to a level where it can exercise control, the acquisition of the additional stake will trigger a review under the EU Merger Regulation. This also applies to Chinese SOEs.”

“In other words, if a Chinese SOE were to first acquire a non-controlling stake, this would not be notifiable. But as soon as the stake is increased to a level where the Chinese SOE acquires control, the acquisition would have to be notified and approved by the Commission,” the source concluded.

What the EU Parliament says

On 20 March 2017, ten MEPs from the European Peoples’ Party (EPP) put forward a proposal for a Union act on the Screening of Foreign Investment in Strategic Sectors.

Swedish MEP Christofer Fjellner (EPP) told EURACTIV that electricity and gas infrastructure had to be considered critical EU infrastructure, and it ought to be protected by the investment screening mechanism.

“I think the issue should be addressed at the upcoming EU-China Summit. However, I believe that a much bigger problem is Gazprom, Nord Stream and the dependence of Russian gas,” he added.

For Portuguese MEP Marisa Matias from GUE-NGL, there is no argument that European stockholders are better than Chinese ones.

She added that the government does not make its position clear regarding the issue but explained that it does not want to make it public again.

“The Portuguese state owns no stock in EDP. The company was completely privatised and has no public capital and very few Portuguese (or European) institutional stockholders. 35% of the stock was dispersed which makes it very easy for the Chinese to achieve a dominant position,” she said.

According to Matias, the company has always been a very profitable, even when it was public but prices have soared since it was privatised.

“Our proposal (Bloco de Esquerda) is to nationalise the company. We have also been making proposals to end various rentist conditions that EDP benefits from, at the expense of taxpayers and consumers,” she concluded.

(Forbes) Is Outsystems Portugal’s Latest Unicorn?

(Forbes) Mr. Madrinha is a journalist with Forbes Portugal and Mr. Leitao is the editor-in-chief of Forbes Portugal and Forbes Angola.

Paulo Rosado, CEO, OutsystemsVICTOR MACHADO

There are those who think “outside of the box” and there are those who think outside of the system that contains the box. Paulo Rosado of Outsystems is one of the rare later types.

This article appeared in FORBES Portugal

When Paulo Rosado moved to the United States in the mid-1990s on a Fulbright Master’s Degree grant to study computational science at Stanford University, the future plans of the recent IT engineering graduate from Lisbon’s Nova University were focused on a career in academia. After just a few minutes talking with him, it is easy to see that he would likely have been successful in that arena. Unlike most engineers, Paulo is very much at ease communicating with humans and manages to get them to immerse themselves in the world of software without knowledge of Java, C++, HTML or any other odd digital language—and two FORBES writers can confirm this.

But academia was set aside, as the airs of Silicon Valley proved too sweet. “I remember perfectly the day when I changed what I wanted,” says Rosado. “It was four in the morning, I was at a workstation – a type of university co-working facility – finishing off a project, myself and four Chinese students, when suddenly it seemed as though a lightning bolt flashed through my head and I thought: this is not the life that I want.” That night, a potentially great professor was lost, but a fine Portuguese business manager was born.

Today, 17 years after founding the Portugal-based enterprise software firm Outsystems, Rosado’s enterprise is believed to have the capacity to achieve the scale of huge companies like SAP or Oracle. Outsystems is the first low-code platform for application development. Shamit Mehta, a lead analyst at the risk capital fund Guidepost Growth Equity, which invested around $55 million in Outsystems in 2016, told FORBES that “the ingredients are all there.”

But this is just the beginning, he says. Mehta estimates that the market for “low-code” software development platforms, the field in which Outsystems operates, will amount to 22 billion Euros in 2022. This reality places the company—the current market leader and supplier of the best product according to the prestigious technological consultancies Gartner and Forrester—on the verge of becoming the next Portuguese unicorn.

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In March, when FORBES Portugal published a cover story about Rosado we pegged Outsystems’ value at around 600 million Euros (around $700 million), based on recent expansion rates and the potential for market growth. Shamit Mehta preferred not to comment on this figure but Joaquim Sérvulo Rodrigues, manager at Armilar Venture Partners, Outsystems third largest shareholder at that time, showed no hesitation in affirming that the figure “represents a conservative evaluation.”

Recently, Outsystems announced it has raised $360 million in investment capital from KKR and Goldman Sachs. The funding values the company at more than $1 billion. The money will be used to accelerate business expansion and for R&D in software automation.

Steve Rotter, CMO, OutsystemsVICTOR MACHADO

In 2001, due to hangover from the North American technology bubble burst, raising capital was not expected to be an easy task but, as the popular saying goes, “fortune favors the brave.” One month after 9/11, Rosado raised one million euros. “We got in through a crack in the door. Six months later, the market closed,” he said while laughing, highlighting that you also need to be lucky. In the case of Outsystems, this luck came after more than 40 pitches Rosado made to potential investors, at the end of which he would often receive responses such as “impossible” or “madness.”

During the the company’s last “Sales Kickoff” at the Hotel Grande Real Villa Itália, in Cascais, at the beginning of February—an event that brought together more than 200 Outsystems employees for a week—Carlos Alves, Rosado’s right-hand man and ‘chief people officer’ at the company, recalls an episode that well reflects Rosado’s determination. “In 2004, the two of us went off to make a pitch to one of the top analysts at a company in the market. At the end, the analyst told us that Outsystems would not survive more than three years because the market would get eaten up by IBM and the other giants. Paulo did not spare his words in response and left the meeting absolutely certain that the guy was wrong and that we would prevail.”

With a product ready for launch, Outsystems designed a business model that started out by targeting the telecommunications sector. It secured its first client, the Portuguese telecommunications company Optimus, which would be crucial to the survival of the firm, before landing the Spanish operator Telefónica, and then another operator in the Netherlands. However, the sector then suddenly went into recession due to high prices for 3G licenses and the market dried up. The needs of the hour required ingeniousness in the product and financial model.

If your business is selling yogurt, you know there is going to be demand to a greater or lesser extent. However, if your field is electric cars, the assumption of demand changes. “Now there is demand for electric vehicles, if a manufacturer had tried to move into the market at the beginning of the century, then they would have had serious difficulties surviving,” explained Rosado. When reaching a market with a very different product with no demand, companies go through a phase often termed “the evangelic sales phase,” in which company leadership must attempt change and create opinions in people about their product. “In these cases, the idea is to get to market two or three years before demand rockets. We arrived twelve years before,” Rosado exclaimed before confessing that over this period Outsystems twice teetered on the verge of bankruptcy.

One of the darkest days, with collapse looming, took place just shortly after its foundation. The business model planned for initial fund raising of one million Euros followed by another round raising three million Euros 18 months later. However, the states of both of its telecommunications clients, and of the capital markets, were not at all favorable. And this is where the importance of Optimus comes in. Due to its agility, the Sonae group telecommunications operator had begun using the platform to come up with internal applications. “Let’s sell this to companies as a solution for making applications,” thought Rosado. And thus it happened. Outsystems won over the toll-road company Brisa, and then ANA – Aeroportos de Portugal – two large companies that were then followed by 20 more clients that enabled Outsystems to break even. “We spent three years spinning out that one million Euros,” says Rosado. “Nobody knew but we were practically out of cash in the bank. That was the time when I lost all of my hair.”

Fresh capital would only appear in 2005 when the company managed to raise 2.2 million Euros, and again in 2007 when ES Ventures, today Armilar Venture Partners, invested 3.2 million Euros. Joaquim Sérvulo Rodrigues, responsible for the Portuguese fund manager, had initially been a naysayer . “I remember commenting to my colleagues that Outsystems was planning to do the impossible,” he recalls.

Eleven years ago, the way companies worked on their information technology systems was the same as they’d done at the beginning of the century when Outsystems was founded. Companies would purchase software packages and then contract large consultancies such as Deloitte or Accenture, for example, to develop a tailored application that would change on a monthly basis in keeping with the dynamics of the business. “One thing was being able to get a market niche and another was changing the functional model in a gigantic industry,” said Rodrigues. Then Outsystems risked everything by changing the way it monetized its business, differentiating itself from competitors.

In 2011, with business still far from any great leap forward, Rosado made the decision to change the pricing model, giving up on the sale of open-ended licenses to begin selling software subscriptions instead. With this change, that he confessed was done “in an act of madness,” the company sought to boost experimentation with the platform and thus gain more clients. However, this would lead to a sharp downturn in earnings as the value of a subscription was far lower than a lifelong license.

Rosado was thus expecting to lose some revenue but he did not predict anything quite as dramatic as what happened. “We thought that we would lower our turnover by three times but instead the drop was six times,” he said. Time, however, would justify the decision. Today, practically every company in every sector has switched from one-off license sales to annual subscription models. In the case of Outsystems, the company went from employing 134 staff members in 2011 to over 600. “Within the space of four years we made the shift from a traditional company to a cloud company,” says Rosado.

Despite having reached the 100 million euros revenue benchmark, Outsystems operates in a market with a potential value of 22 billion euros. Moving forward, one challenge may be resisting a potential takeover bid. With the company having already attracted clients such as Toyota Motors, Siemens and the insurer Axa, and gaining market share in the United States, it is natural and legitimate for software giants to feel threatened. Rosado told FORBES that this he has no plans to make such an exit. “Money was never my objective,” he says.

Furthermore, he also confessed to being the target of massive interest from new investors. Were a takeover to happen, Rosado’s blessing would be an important factor. As Rodrigues explains, “despite a majority of shareholders being able to make this decision, to go against the will of the founder would involve an enormous loss of value.” Rodrigues added that Armilar Venture Partners would always side with Rosado in whatever he decides.

Rosado, meanwhile, remains concentrated on growth, in revenue and talent. “We want to sharpen our cutting edge and clean out any fat,” he says. Rosado lets a smile of pride emerge when talking about his people and does not hesitate to admit that he regularly comes across work done by staff that surpasses his own capabilities. “You need to give the freedom so that innovation can naturally emerge. You cannot do anything on your own,” he says. For example, despite maintaining a top product on the market, Rosado is aware that the engineering could be four times better, which fuels Outsystems’ search for quality personnel.

This explains the hiring of Steve Rotter (considered one of the world’s 100 most influential persons in the field of marketing and digital marketing and has won various international awards) as chief marketing officer and Mike Lambert as sales director in 2017, both professionals with experience in facilitating growth. According to Rodrigues, a year ago the great challenge for Outsystems was to grow in the United States at the same pace it had in other regions, but this no longer remains the case due to the recent policy for contracting people with “advanced experience” in the american market.

In the last six years, Outsystems has recorded soaring rates of growth with turnover spiking by an annual average of 41%. Last year revenue was up by 63%, surpassing 100 million Euros. Currently, over 80% of this turnover comes from outside Portugal with a particular emphasis on the United States – in 2010, the portuguese market accounted for 53% of company income.

Outsystems now has two major challenges, Rodrigues says: maintaining a culture of innovation and convincing the major consultancies, such as Accenture, KPMG and Deloitte, to adopt the company platform, which requires them to cannibalize a business area that has hitherto been extremely profitable. This is a Herculean task but Rosado says he’s ready. “We are already setting up a new cycle so as not to fall into the stereotype of a mature company,” he explains. “I do not like managing mature businesses, as afterwards it is all about price and operations. They bore me.”

(Reuters) Portugal PM says no changing budget course ahead of 2019 election

(Reuters) Portugal’s government will stay the course of budget discipline next year while further improving pay and investment, Prime Minister Antonio Costa said on Friday, ruling out any major policy changes before a general election in 2019.

The minority Socialist government relies on support of the two hard-left parties in parliament which have been pressing for more ambitious increases in public spending, in what some analysts say could compromise political stability.

But Costa told parliament in the last full session before the summer break the next budget would be about continuity.

“After the summer, we will be preparing the last budget of this legislature and I want to be clear: we will not sacrifice what has been achieved or change the course due to the fact that we will be almost one year before the election”.

The Socialists are well ahead of the opposition in opinion polls for the election, which will probably occur in October 2019, but short of a majority, which means they are likely to have to rely on a similar arrangement for support in parliament.

Costa said the government and its allies had to have the responsibility and courage to “say clearly what is possible and what is not” in order to avoid having to resort to austerity again in the future.

Brussels and international creditors have lauded Portugal’s efforts to slash the budget deficit since the 2010-13 debt crisis and bailout that implied tough austerity.

The government seeks to trim the deficit this year to just 0.7 percent of GDP – a new record low in the country’s democratic history, after a 2017 gap of 0.9 percent, on the back of the strongest economic growth in 17 years. This year, however, growth is expected to slow.

“We have to guarantee the sustainability of the path followed up until now, consolidating the good results achieved,” Costa said. “We want to proceed on this path without setbacks and impasses. Policy stability is crucial for maintaining confidence.”

He said that the country had to keep reducing its deficit and public debt to shield itself from outside shocks, such as a possible U.S.-China trade war.

The government has managed to combine budget consolidation with measures to promote growth. It has reversed many austerity measures of the previous center-right administration, and Costa promised to unfreeze career progression in the public sector and raise pensions above inflation next year.

(PT) Aga Khan thanks Portugal for a ‘progressive partnership’

(PT)

LISBON: Prince Karim Aga Khan has praised Portugal as a country of opportunity and has thanked the country for a “progressive partnership” with the Ismaili imamat.

He said this while addressing members of the Portuguese parliament. He was invited to speak at the Assembly of the Republic in Lisbon by its president Eduardo Ferro Rodrigues.

The address coincides with the global celebrations taking place in Lisbon commemorating the Diamond Jubilee of the Aga Khan, marking 60 years of his leadership as 49th spiritual leader of the Shia Ismaili Muslims.

In his address to the parliament, he expressed gratitude to the Republic of Portugal and spoke of Portugal as a significant partner with the Ismaili imamat, one that shares a commitment to pluralism and embracing diversity. He described Portugal as a country of opportunity. He said that Portugal is “a country that seeks to honour both its past achievements and its future opportunities, to embrace both the gift of social stability and the promise of social progress.”

He also noted that the history of Ismaili engagement with Portugal stretches back many years, beginning when Ismailis settled in Portuguese Territories in India in the 17th century. He noted the warm welcome that Portugal offered almost half a century ago to Ismailis fleeing the Mozambiquan civil war. In reflecting upon the past, he also looked forward and considered the challenges that lie ahead, remarking “We know that the days ahead will be demanding ones, a time of profound global change.”

Members of his family who joined him for the address included his brother Prince Amyn, daughter Princess Zahra and her children Sara and Iliyan, son Prince Rahim with his wife Princess Salwa, and sons Prince Hussain and Prince Aly Muhammad.

(Spectator) Portugal’s entrancing capital has always looked to the sea

(SpectatorQueen of the Sea: A History of Lisbon reviewed

Paris, Venice, Montevideo, Cape Town, Hobart. There are cities, like fado, that pluck at the gut. In my personal half dozen, having also lived there, Lisbon ranks high. ‘What beauties doth Lisboa first unfold,’ gasped Byron’s Childe Harold. Two centuries on, Portugal’s capital remains Queen of the Sea.

Yet beyond a sombrely sentimental gift to entrance, the character of Lisbon is elusive. It outreached the grip even of its greatest modern muse, Fernando Pessoa, whose posthumous 100-page guidebook, Lisbon: What the Tourist Should See, finally published in 1992, included the helpful information that Lisbon ‘rises like a fair vision in a dream, clear-cut against a bright blue sky which the sun gladdens with its gold’. Nor did Antoine de Saint-Exupéry penetrate to the nub on his visit in 1940 — when the city was a capital of refugees from the Nazis — describing Lisbon as ‘a kind of clear and sad paradise’ that ‘partied in defiance of Europe’.

To Barry Hatton in this enchanting history, ‘Lisbon is a mood’ which ‘cannot be captured in a travel brochure or photographs on a website’. The city’s special quality consists largely, he believes, in its exhilarating light, which falls on blue-tiled walls and white stone pavements with an intensity that is un-European, and more reminiscent of Portugal’s former colonies in Africa, India and Brazil. ‘It is a textured brightness, a creamy glow, at the same time vivid and silky.’

Lisbon’s second unique ingredient is what one Portuguese historian has called the ‘hybridism of cultures where, like nowhere else, the influences of Christianity and Islam converged’. To the Nobel laureate José Saramago, the city’s spirit lies in this spicy stew, ‘and it is the spirit that makes cities eternal’. Lisbon’s cultural tolerance throws up: the footballer Eusébio (from Lourenço Marques) — his statue ‘poised in mid-kick’ outside the Benfica Stadium of Light; the Belém Tower — whose architect had worked for two years in Marrakesh and was mimicking its mosque there; and São Domingos Square — where you can purchase a voodoo spell from Ouidah, drink throat-pinching firewater from Cape Verde, and eat an eye-watering Mozambican curry while listening to kizomba music from Angola.

‘Its secret,’ Hatton reckons, ‘is in the mix.’

Hatton has little truck with the myths that Lisbon’s citizens — Europe’s ‘most instinctively subversive people’ — like to tell themselves. It’s a furphy that Ulysses founded Lisbon after becoming lost in the Mediterranean, and that it was the Phoenician city of Alis Ubbo (allegedly meaning Gentle Cove). Still, an excavation in 2014 did uncover a Phoenician cemetery dating back to the seventh century bc, while a recent dig unearthed virtually the largest hippodrome in the Roman Empire, when the city was known as Olisipo.

Roman for six centuries, Moorish for five more (as Al-Uxbuna), Lisbon did not come of age (as Lixboa) till long after the Crusaders reconquered it (in 1147). Then, trapped between the devil of Spain and the deep blue Atlantic, it chose ‘faute de mieux, to get wet’.

The Age of Discovery — which began with the conquest of Ceuta in 1415 by Henry the (half-English) Navigator, and continued in a staccato flourish with Bartolomeu Dias’s rounding of the Cape in 1488, Vasco da Gama’s arrival in India in 1498, and Pedro Cabral’s landing on the Brazilian coast in 1500 — catapulted Lisbon into opulence and prominence as ‘the place to be if you wanted news on what was happening across the globe’. In the phrase of its national poet, Luís de Camões, Portugal brought ‘new worlds to the world’. By 1608, Lisbon was ‘worthy of being the head of the empire of the whole world’, according to one leading nobleman who argued to Felipe III of Spain that the city should even replace Madrid as the capital of Iberia.

Lisbon flaunted its wealth in wildly extravagant construction projects like the Jerónimos Monastery — said to be ‘built by pepper’, and taking a century to complete — and in the monarch’s exotic cortege whenever he proceeded through the streets, composed of a rhinoceros, five elephants, ‘rigged out in gold brocade’, and a jaguar.

No less characteristic was the opposite asceticism that motivated some of Manuel I’s successors. Typical of these was the former economics professor António Salazar, an unmarried cold fish who ruled from 1932 to 1968, living with his housekeeper Maria in a rented home, a rug over his knees, and keeping chickens and rabbits in the yard, while banning Coca-Cola and the exposure of bare flesh on the beach.

Hatton is skilful at assembling these contradictions. There is the Lisbon light, he suggests, and then there is the city’s darkness. The sweet-scented Queen of the Sea was in the same warm breath a filthy, disease-ridden sewer — ‘a chaos of nastiness, poverty and wretchedness on every side’, observed an English officer who arrived in the Peninsula War. The ingrained habit of hurling into the street below the contents of your chamber pot with the cry Água vai! (Here comes water!) had not shifted an iota by 1940 when the American writer Mary McCarthy visited. She was struck by the Dickensian hardship that she witnessed in the still ‘medieval’ poverty of the Alfama district.

Add to cholera and diphtheria a condition that continues to infect Lisbon’s historians. Hatton diagnoses this as a ‘cultural amnesia’. Unpalatable blots are instinctively scrubbed from the capital’s history and put ‘in a box in the attic’. Rather as the Marquis de Pombal prohibited the use of the surname Távora, after the Marquis of Távora tried to assassinate him, so, for example, has Salazar’s name been removed from the magnificent bridge across the River Tagus that in 1966 was baptised after him. Even today, references to Salazar’s 36-year dictatorship are suppressed.

Locked away as well in that same attic box is the shameful story of how Jews and blacks were treated. The 400,000 African slaves who arrived in Lisbon between 1444 and 1761 — the only ones who didn’t have slaves in the 16th century ‘were the beggars’ — are a ‘silent presence’ in the history books, along with the estimated 5.8 million Africans shipped to Brazil between 1501 and 1857.

A beautiful face always carries a price. Hatton never forgets that Lisbon’s seductively peaceful, shabby charm conceals features that are also sinister and brutal. The 1974 revolution that saw the end of Salazar’s legacy resulted in only five deaths, with the ecstatic population stuffing carnations into the gun-barrels of soldiers, and the deposed prime minister Marcelo Caetano murmuring, ‘Well, that’s life,’ as he got into the car that drove him away. But a commensurate violence shimmers never far from the surface, and on All Saints Day 1755 it famously erupted with what Goethe called ‘diabolic terror’.

In seven minutes one of the most powerful earthquakes to hit Europe obliterated a tenth of Lisbon’s 200,000 population, two thirds of its houses, 36 churches, the world’s most sumptuous opera house, and a royal palace containing priceless archives from Portugal’s golden Age of Discovery. All that was left after the tsunami, the fires and 250 aftershocks was ‘a vast heap of ruins’. Lisbon never altogether recovered.

My favourite books on cities include Suketu Mehta’s portrait of Mumbai, Maximum City, and Jan Morris’s Trieste and the Meaning of Nowhere. This is more idiosyncratic and playful. A foreign correspondent in Portugal’s capital for 30 years, Hatton has eschewed ‘a linear, historical narrative’ in order to tell Lisbon’s story ‘from the inside’. In joining up his dots, he makes no space for writers like Antonio Tabucchi or António Lobo Antunes, or for scandals like the architect Tomás Taveira’s sex-tapes, which convulsed the city in the 1980s.

In their place he gives us the scandal of Queen Amália I of Kongo, who after her coronation in Lisbon ran off with a farmer from the Alentejo, bearing him many children. The story I like best is that of the contemporary-sounding swindler whose gargantuan fraud may have opened the door to Salazar’s rule. In 1925, a bankrupt undertaker’s son, Artur Alves dos Reis, succeeded in conning the London printers Waterlow & Sons, which printed Portuguese bank notes, into issuing him with 200,000 genuine notes of 500 escudos, equivalent to 1 per cent of Portugal’s annual GDP. He lived the highest of lives before he was caught and imprisoned, dying, like Camões, in poverty and obscurity. A very Lisbon story.

(JN) À política o que é da justiça – Nuno Melo

(JN) Se pudessem, era assim. Justiça mansa e domesticada com decisões a pedido para quem é de Esquerda, separação de poderes com olhos vendados nos tribunais para o resto do Mundo. Não disfarçam, nem se preocupam.

Neste momento, o pretexto é Lula da Silva. Mas já foi José Sócrates e antes dele, outros. Não se trata de afirmar razões de princípio. A motivação é realmente corporativa, para defesa dos seus, à descarada, mesmo que implique virar a cara ao pior que a política pode gerar. Quem se mete com a Esquerda, leva.

22 deputados do PS, BE, PCP e PEV exigem que o Supremo Tribunal Federal do Brasil liberte Lula da Silva. Do alto da sua soberba, conviria que percebessem que estão longe de poder dar lições a quem seja. E caso não lhes tenha ocorrido, o grito do Ipiranga aconteceu em 7 de setembro de 1822. O Brasil é uma nação independente.

Como é que os comunistas argumentaram em 2016 sobre o voto de condenação pela detenção de Luaty Beirão nas prisões de Angola? “A Assembleia da República não deve aprovar um voto formal de condenação de uma decisão judicial angolana” e “Portugal não deve ser plataforma de ingerência sobre um Estado soberano”. Ou seja, condenar uma decisão dos tribunais angolanos não pode ser, porque o país, governado por um partido marxista, é soberano. Mas condenar os tribunais do Brasil pela detenção de um político marxista já tem que ser e a soberania não importa nada. Extraordinário.

Que fizeram o PCP, o BE e o PEV quando, em 2017, se tratou de dar a mão ao regime venezuelano, que mantinha encarcerados por delito de opinião os principais opositores do regime, casos de Leopoldo López e Daniel Ceballo? Juntos, votaram o texto laudatório da ditadura sul-americana.

A grande diferença em relação à Venezuela, que seria suposto ao menos o PS distinguisse, é que o Brasil é um Estado de direito. E na base da decisão estiveram casos de corrupção que os tribunais sopesaram. Quanto a isto, mesmo em tempos de geringonça, não deveriam subsistir estados de alma. Mas pensando bem, por cá, em 2014, quando José Sócrates foi detido, Mário Soares também argumentou: “Tem que ver com os malandros que estão a combater um homem que foi um primeiro-ministro exemplar.”

Ajuda a perceber que à Esquerda se justifique que no Brasil, três deputados do PT tenham articulado, com um juiz que foi filiado no mesmo partido, o dia de plantão em que poderia decidir politicamente e em absoluta deturpação de funções, a libertação de Lula da Silva.

Depois, filosofem em debates, pelos extremismos que crescem nas urnas.

Deputado europeu

(Cargo) Embaixador dos EUA acredita que GNL em Sines pode tornar Portugal «na Singapura da Europa Ocidental»

(Cargo) Muito se tem falado sobre a capacidade geoestratégica que o Porto de Sines terá para desempenhar o papel de porta de entrada do gás natural no continente europeu, numa altura em que esta alternativa energética ganha cada vez mais relevo a nível global – em entrevista à Lusa, George Glass, embaixador dos EUA em Portugal, considera que Sines pode transformar Portugal na «Singapura da Europa Ocidental», ao receber o GNL americano, assegurando a independência energética do continente face à Rússia.

«Portugal tem a oportunidade de ser a Singapura da Europa Ocidental, de ser o ponto de entrada para esse produto», começou por afirmar Glass. No final do presente mês, Lisboa acolherá «uma cimeira de gás entre Portugal, Espanha e França» que visará a criação do mercado europeu de gás natural, com a ligação das redes ibéricas ao resto da Europa, explicou, aos microfones da Lusa. A solução prevê uma ligação via Pirenéus e permitirá abastecer a Europa através de Sines e da Argélia – uma alternativa ao gás proveniente da Rússia.

De acordo com a explicação de Glass, o produto «poderá ser bombeado para qualquer ponto da Europa» uma vez garantidas as «interconexões do gás» – um sistema de abastecimento que se afigura, assim, como uma alternativa viável à dependência europeia do gás natural russo. Se conectado às redes europeias, o Porto de Sines será, sem dúvida, a infra-estrutura melhor posicionada para receber o GNL dos EUA. «Os Estados Unidos passaram de ser o maior importador para o maior exportador de gás natural», recordou o embaixador.

Sines é já um pólo importante relativamente ao comércio de GNL, já que um terço das importações de GNL na Europa passam pela infra-estrutura, mas o futuro poderá ser ainda mais risonho para o porto alentejano e o seu papel ainda mais preponderante neste contexto – ainda assim, lembra Glass, «é necessário atravessar os Pirenéus» para que tal se concretize, mostrando-se, no entanto, «entusiasmado» com o potencial de Sines.

(ECO) Exportações portuguesas desaceleram. Importações estagnam

(ECOAs exportações aumentaram mais do que as importações no mês de maio, tendo crescido 6,2% contra os 0,3% das importações. No entanto, ambas ficam bastante abaixo do crescimento de 2017.

As exportações e importações desaceleraram consideravelmente no mês de maio, de acordo com dados divulgados esta terça-feira pelo Instituto Nacional de Estatística (INE). Enquanto as exportações ficaram num crescimento de 6,2%, comparativamente aos 17,7% homólogos registados em abril, as importações praticamente estagnaram com um crescimento de 0,3%, quando em abril tinha sido de 12,9%.

O défice da balança comercial diminuiu relativamente ao mesmo mês no ano anterior: em maio de 2018 fixou-se nos 1.122 milhões de euros, enquanto no ano anterior o valor era 284 milhões de euros superior.

As exportações cresceram principalmente devido a um aumento de 8,7% no comércio internacional dentro da União Europeia. As exportações portuguesas para foram da União Europeia viram, na verdade, uma redução de 1,1%. As importações também aumentaram menos pela mesma tendência — houve uma queda de 11,9% nas importações de países de fora da UE. A desaceleração em relação ao ano anterior também se deve, porém, ao facto de maio de 2018 ter menos um dia útil que maio de 2017.

Já comparando a evolução registada neste mês de maio com o mês anterior, abril, “em maio de 2018 as exportações aumentaram 6,7%, sobretudo em resultado do comportamento do comércio Intra-UE. As importações cresceram 3,0%, reflexo do aumento verificado no comércio Intra-UE, dado que no comércio Extra-UE se registou uma redução”.

(MacauHub) China’s President due to visit Portugal in December

(MacauHub)

The President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping is due to visit Portugal in early December, a few weeks before the start of the Year of China in Portugal and the Year of Portugal in China in 2019, the Portuguese Minister for Culture said on Friday in Macau.

Luís Filipe Castro Mendes, who travelled to Macau to take part in the Cultural Forum between China and the Portuguese-speaking Countries, told Portuguese state news agency Lusa, “we hope to have a cultural event that is worthy to welcome President Xi.”

Among the various “Portuguese cultural events in China and Chinese cultural events in Portugal,” the minister highlighted in February, “a very special event to celebrate the Lunar New Year,” a “very popular festival in Lisbon,” which is always well attended.

The schedule also includes performances by ballet companies, concerts and exhibitions, which the minister discussed on Thursday with his Chinese counterpart in Beijing.

“The meeting I had with the Chinese Minister of Culture served exactly to align our calendars, outlooks and our work at this festival – in which Macau will naturally have a stake,” he said.

In 2019 there will be a celebration of 40 years of diplomatic relations between Portugal and China, as well as 20 years since Macau returned to Chinese administration, a “happy coincidence,” said Castro Mendes.

(BBG) Ronaldo Bid Reports Send Juventus Shares to Four-Month High

(BBG) Shares of Juventus Football Club SpA surged following reports the Italian soccer club is poised to sign five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo.

Current club Real Madrid would consider a fee of about 100 million euros ($117 million) for its record goal-scorer, a fraction of his 1 billion-euro release clause, Spanish sports website Marca reported. The 33-year-old agreed to accept a 30 million-euro salary from Juventus, Spanish newspaper As reported, saying the clubs still need to reach a transfer agreement.

Juventus shares rose as much as 9.7 percent in Milan, the biggest intraday rally since a crucial Champions League winin March for the team that would later crash out in a quarter-final defeat at the hands of its Spanish rival, sealed by a penalty goal from Ronaldo. The stock has climbed 23 percent in the last five days as speculation of a possible transfer gathered pace.

While a fee of the reported amount may seem high for a player in the twilight of his career, it would be a coup for the Turin-based side known as “la Vecchia Signora,” or The Old Lady, given Ronaldo’s global brand appeal as well as his on-field talent.

Ronaldo is a “marketer’s dream” who would entice fresh revenue to Juventus through sponsorships, full stadiums and potential broadcasting rights, Robert Wilson, a lecturer in sports business management at Sheffield Hallam University in the north of England, said by email.

The fee would top the 80 million pounds ($105.8 million) Real Madrid paid Manchester United for the Portuguese star in 2009.

Also the UEFA Champions League’s all-time top scorer, Ronaldo earned $61 million dollars in salary and bonuses last year, plus an extra $47 million via endorsements, according to Forbes, making him the third-highest paid athlete in the world behind FC Barcelona star Lionel Messi and American boxer Floyd Mayweather.

His most recent exploits came at the World Cup in Russia, where he scored a breathtaking hat-trick against Spain in the group stage before Portugal was eliminated by Uruguay in the first knock-out round.

A spokesman for Juventus declined to comment and Real Madrid didn’t respond to an emailed request for comment.

(Reuters) Altice, Huawei tie-up aims to make Portugal a European leader in 5G

(Reuters) The Portuguese unit of telecoms firm Altice, the country’s largest operator, is working with Chinese electronics giant Huawei to make Portugal a leader within Europe in the development and roll-out of next-generation 5G networks.

“I believe that the Portuguese market will be one of the first globally to be able to use this (5G) technology,” said Alexandre Fonseca, CEO of Altice Portugal, after the first demonstration of the technology on Wednesday using a prototype Huawei router with a top speed of 1.5 gygabytes per second.

Fonseca expects the first commercial devices to crop up in Portugal in 2019 or 2020, although regular users are unlikely to have access to the technology before 2021 or 2022, “because various questions need answers, such as investment versus profitability of the business”.

An advertising board is seen during the first demonstration of the technology 5G in Lisbon, Portugal June 4, 2018. REUTERS/Rafael Marchante

At a global level, the first commercial 5G projects are expected to launch in the United States this year, followed by Japan and South Korea in 2019 and China in 2020.

Providers across Europe are also working to roll out services. Vodafone, whose Portuguese unit competes with Altice Portugal, said last month it will begin testing 5G mobile networks in seven of Britain’s 10 largest cities later in 2018, before starting limited deployments in some markets next year.

In Italy, communications regulator AGCOM said the government would auction frequencies for 5G mobile services in September.

Portugal is no stranger to world-class technological innovation. The world’s first prepaid mobile phones were launched here, as were single, country-wide electronic motorway tolls. It has a dense fiber network, which makes it a fertile ground for the development of the new telecoms standard.

Wednesday’s demonstration followed two years of research and testing, which Fonseca says puts the partners ahead of their competition in Portugal.

When implemented on a larger scale, with a denser network of smaller antennae than the current 4G standard, the 5G technology will allow data transfer speeds 50 to 100 times faster than now.

Dutch-based Altice bought the assets of former telecoms monopoly Portugal Telecom in 2015. Altice’s fiber networks, which will help deliver the 5G service, cover 4.3 million homes in Portugal out of the total of 5.3 million, and Altice expects to cover the remainder by early 2020.

“This is extraordinary and does not happen in other European countries, such as Germany,” said Chris Lu, head of Huawei in Portugal. He projects that his company will develop a 5G smartphone prototype by next year or in 2020.

Industry analysts expect 5G upgrades to kick in next decade for faster phones, fixed wireless video and new industrial business uses. So far, there has been no clear game-changing device or service to emerge to drive 5G network demand.

(JN) A alegre casinha da Madonna – Nuno Melo

(JN) O contrato celebrado entre o presidente de Câmara socialista, Fernando Medina, e Madonna, para estacionamento a preço de saldo dos carros que felizmente tem, justificado igualmente pelo BE, como se espera de uma boa e sólida muleta, mostra que o deslumbramento provinciano também se encontra em Lisboa nalguns à Esquerda, fascinados pelas luzes da ostentação mais capitalista, que sempre que provam, adulam.

Em debate, há tempos, na Assembleia da República, o primeiro-ministro, António Costa, recorreu a Carl Marx para dizer que “uma sociedade decente é uma sociedade onde cada qual contribui para o bem comum de acordo com as suas capacidades e cada um recebe de acordo com as suas necessidades”. Que contraste extraordinário entre a conversa que adorna discursos e as decisões que politicamente comprometem a utilização do erário público.

O PS em Lisboa achará que cedendo o espaço interior do Palácio Pombal a Madonna, com uma área capaz de albergar 15 carros, numa zona nobre da cidade onde ninguém encontra lugar, a troco de 720 euros por mês, estará a honrar o pensamento do ideólogo alemão e a cantora receberá “de acordo com as suas necessidades”. Acontece que “de acordo com as suas capacidades”, Madonna estaria em condições de pagar muitíssimo mais. Conviria até que Fernando Medina tivesse em conta que se a diva estacionará cada um dos seus veículos ao preço de 1,6 euros por dia, a EMEL persegue todos os dias os munícipes a quem bloqueia os carros e multa, por não encontrarem um único lugar, ou só os terem disponíveis onde seja, a preços muito mais caros.

Ajuda a perceber que, ao mesmo tempo que o povo se desenrascava na gestão difícil do trânsito da capital, António Costa, Francisco Louçã, Fernando Medina, Ferro Rodrigues e Catarina Martins, aos pulinhos e com os bracinhos em cruz, entre sorrisos forçados difíceis de disfarçar a falta de jeito, se imaginassem estrelas pop em cima de um palco, desafinando a “minha alegre casinha”, sem noção de que mesmo para o aproveitamento mais eleitoralista, cantarolar à Esquerda a apologia de uma certa modéstia nascida no Estado Novo é como tentar conjugar a provocação erótica da Madonna com a franja da Beatriz Costa. Não liga. Chega a ser tão ridículo, como saber que o BE, a quem o PS abriu as portas do poder, se concentra em “acampamentos” a discutir a “desconstrução da masculinidade tóxica”, ou “a propriedade é roubo; socialização dos meios de produção”. Todos juntos, numa próxima edição, talvez queiram pensar nisto.

*Deputado europeu

(OBS) Bem-vindos ao reino da impunidade – Helena Garrido

(OBS) Se deve mil tem um problema, se deve milhões não se preocupe. Se pertence à elite que partilhou escola ainda se deve preocupar menos. E nada se é parte do grupo certo, seja de que partido ou clube for

O tempo passa e há já quem tenha caído com o peso das suas dívidas durante a crise e já se tenha levantado ou reduzido o seu nível de vida. Se é esse o seu caso é porque não devia centenas de milhões de euros, não estava integrado na rede do poder ou não pertencia a nenhum grande clube de futebol. Para esses, que deviam centenas de milhões de euros, os bancos não têm meios para os obrigar a pagar ou a falir e os mais diversos poderes defendem-nos com o sigilo bancário, ao mesmo tempo que se apresentam como defensores dos desfavorecidos. Nunca como hoje se teve um discurso e se actuou de forma oposta ao que se diz.

Porque não conseguem os bancos que os grandes devedores lhes paguem? Estão protegidos por contratos jurídicos invioláveis, argumenta-se. Ou nada têm nas empresas que eram suas e que, em muitos casos, desnataram. Ou nada têm em nome pessoal como aconteceu por exemplo com Nuno Vasconcellos da Ongoing que só tinha uma mota de águaquando o BCP finalmente resolveu executar a sua dívida de 9,7 milhões de euros.

Bem vindos pois a um país onde os grandes devedores conseguem continuar a dever sem que nada lhes aconteça enquanto outros, os pequeninos, pelo menos alguns, já tiveram tempo para pagar o que devem e reconstruir as suas vidas. Ou estão ainda a pagar caro os erros que cometeram.

Bem vindos a um país onde um banqueiro pode receber uma liberalidade de um cliente sem que nada lhe aconteça, para além de estar enredado em processos judiciais. Ou ao país em que um banqueiro pode conseguir financiamento para empresas do grupo da família, enganando gananciosos ou analfabetos, sem que nada lhe aconteça. Ou antes, o que lhe acontece é o Estado substitui-lo como credor.

Bem vindos a um país onde modestas pessoas, muitas iletradas e info-excluídas, ficam sem uma agência bancária a poucos quilómetros do sítio isolado onde vivem porque houve homens integrados nas redes do poder que não pagaram o que deviam ao banco do Estado que, por sua vez, concedeu esse crédito por orientações políticas, amiguismo ou critérios duvidosos que estão a ser avaliados pela justiça.

Bem vindos ao reino em que alguns homens, que abriram portas financeiras ou jurídicas para outros homens acederem a centenas de milhões de crédito que lhes dava o estatuto de banqueiros ou empresários, continuam a com poder para ditar as regras que do reino.

Bem vindos ao reino onde se leva à miséria quem deve milhares à banca ou se processa sem dó nem piedade quem deve centenas ao fisco e protege-se, a coberto do sigilo bancário, quem deve centenas de milhões e tem nas costas a responsabilidade do dinheiro que alguns bancos precisaram, nomeadamente a CGD.

Bem vindos ao reino que, numa luta sem quartel pela sua auto preservação, defende-se o sigilo bancário como se fosse um valor absoluto, indiferente à necessidade de apurar responsabilidades que podem mudar mentalidades e atacar o coração de uma elite rentista que condena o povo ao subdesenvolvimento.

Bem vindos ao reino da impunidade, ao reino em que a elite responsável ou cúmplice do problema dos bancos vai armadilhando a justiça com falta de meios e assim se vai preservando.

Bem vindos, enfim, a um reino que devia ser de uma fantasia de terror.

Quando se diz que não há uma única pessoa responsabilizada pelo que se passou na banca portuguesa é dizer pouco. Porque além de não existirem responsáveis pela concessão de crédito sem a devida avaliação de risco ou com critérios duvidosos – porque é disso que se trata e não de eventos inesperados que geraram incumprimento -, há igualmente grandes devedores que se podem dar ao luxo de continuara dever e, no limite, a fingirem que são empresários porque são protegidos pelo “sigilo bancário”.

Como se tudo isto não bastasse está criada em alguns bancos a ideia de adiar ainda mais a limpeza do malparado, opondo-se à proposta da iniciativa da Alemanha e da França de obrigar a uma redução para 5% da carteira de crédito. E ouvimos da Associação Portuguesa de Bancos exactamente os mesmos argumentos usados para convencer a troika a não aplicar em Portugal a solução de limpeza geral usada na Irlanda – e que a CGD acabou por adoptar no seu último aumento de capital. Estamos à espera de uma nova crise para termos ainda de gastar mais dinheiro a salvar bancos? (Atenção que a salvação dos bancos é uma expressão lata para dizer que estamos a salvar, e bem, depósitos. Mas esta solução que considero ser a que tem menos custos para a economia não pode ser o caminho para desresponsabilizar quem fez uma gestão danosa e perdoar grandes devedores).

Quem assim reina frequentou as mesmas escolas ou colégios, as mesmas faculdades, concentra-se basicamente em Lisboa, é um grupo de amigos e conhecidos que troca cumplicidades e favores. Um grupo transversal aos partidos que vai expurgando quem a ele não pertence ou se atreve a tentar mudar esta elite que controla o poder a seu favor, mesmo com discursos de defesa do povo. Este reino da impunidade terá um dia consequências graves. Por tudo isto mas também pelo que temos assistido nos últimos tempos, resta-nos estar gratos por não termos ainda em Portugal um partido populista de tipo autoritário em Portugal.

(Reuters) British Supreme Court rejects Goldman Sachs appeal vs Novo Banco

(Reuters) Britain’s Supreme Court dismissed on Wednesday an appeal by Goldman Sachs for compensation from Portugal’s Novo Banco over a $835 million loan to Novo Banco’s bankrupt predecessor, Banco Espirito Santo (BES), which was carved up by the state in 2014.

The decision, announced by the court on its website, sets a precedent that could help Portugal fend off other lawsuits involving major bondholders in BES, such as Pimco and Blackrock, which have challenged similar decisions by the Portuguese central bank in 2015 not to transfer liabilities to Novo Banco.

The loan arranged by Goldman Sachs (GS.N) was extended to BES by Luxembourg-based vehicle Oak Finance in 2014, shortly before the bank went bankrupt under the weight of the debts of its founding family, and Goldman has sought compensation from Novo Banco, which took over the healthy operations of BES.

Britain’s Supreme Court said it unanimously rejected the appeal, even though the original loan agreement was governed by English law. Novo Banco declined to comment.

After the collapse of BES in August 2014, Portugal’s central bank transferred some assets and liabilities to Novo Banco, which took over BES operations after an injection of about 5 billion euros ($5.8 billion) of public funds. It was acquired last year by U.S. private equity firm Lone Star.

In December 2014, the central bank specified the Goldman Sachs loan was not eligible for the transfer and had never been transferred, to which Goldman objected.

The court said it understood “that an English court must treat the Oak liability as never having been transferred to Novo Banco. It was therefore never party to the jurisdiction clause.”

It added there were ongoing administrative law proceedings in Portugal challenging the December 2014 decision, which have not yet been resolved.

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A range of other lawsuits by bondholders in BES and Novo Banco also challenge a central bank decision at the end of 2015 to transfer more than 2 billion euros of bonds from the rescued Novo Bank back to BES, which is being liquidated.

London-based hedge fund Winterbrook Capital said last week it considered several notes issued by Novo Banco to be in default as a results of the resolution measures taken by Portugal’s central bank in 2014 and 2015.

Despite the warning, Novo Banco placed 400 million euros worth of subordinated debt notes just two days later on June 29, its first issue since the rescue, to strong investor demand.