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Latest: Portugal and the European Union

LATEST: PORTUGAL AND THE EUROPEAN UNIONPrime Minister Luis Montenegro was speaking in Brussels this week when he emphasised that Portugal has a “very strong commitment” to the European Union, both in domestic and foreign policy, especially regarding Ukraine and the Middle East.

Portugal’s minister of foreign affairs personally told the Iranian ambassador to Lisbon that his country fully condemned Iran’s 13 April drone and missile attack on Israel, which some observers think was a failure and others consider a deliberately confusing plan.

The conflict in the Middle East was high on the agenda of Prime Minister Montenegro in the Spanish capital, Madrid, during his first official visit abroad. Good Iberian neighbourliness was, of course, paramount.

Portugal joined the European Union in 1986 and has ever since been at the centre of EU decisions with all other members while contributing to EU policies.

Despite this close cooperation, more than half of Portugal’s population is reportedly unaware of the EU parliamentary elections on 9 June. That’s more than double the average in most other EU countries, according to Eurobarometer. The latest opinion poll suggests that more than 70% of EU citizens are likely to vote on 9 June.

Studies show that more than anything, EU voters want to increase the EU fight against poverty and social exclusion, as well as supporting public health institutions , economic advancements and the creation of new jobs.

Defence and security are also high on the minds of voters, particularly because of Russia’s war in Ukraine. While the war is also a serious issue in Portugal, it is even more so, of course, for voters in Denmark, Finland and Lithuania.

Portugal’s new minority centre-right Democratic Alliance (AD) government expects the country’s economy to grow by 1.5% this year. While not being able to depend on support from the second strongest centre-left Socialist Party, the AD fully expects to be constantly embattled by the far-right Chega party. Portugal’s latest snap election gave the AD 80 seats in parliament, the Socialists 78 and Chega 50. Angry debate and differences are thus inevitable.

Well before the EU elections, Portugal as a democratic republic will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1974 ‘Carnation Revolution’ on 25th April, which ended a long period of dictatorship and colonial wars. The celebrations will include conferences, parades and other performance, many especially for young adults and children.

Written by Len Port


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