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Posted by portugalpress on November 02, 2018

Portugal is being portrayed in UK as “furious” over the time it’s taking to broker a Brexit deal.

Says one of the UK’s pro-Brexit tabloids, “Lisbon fears the country’s economy would be devastated by a no-deal divorce”.

Quoting foreign affairs minister Augusto Santos Silva speaking at a recent conference with the Confederation of Portuguese Industries, the Express says Brussels (more specifically the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier) is being seen as leaving Portugal “in limbo”.

More importantly, Portugal may opt to sideline the process as soon as it possibly can.

Said Santos Silva, the situation should not be seen as a divorce from Europe: it is much more subtle than that: “We are getting divorced so that we can immediately get into a new relationship”, he stressed.

“This is not about (Britain) leaving our house: it is about finding a new house where we can live together”.

Santos Silva’s position appears to have been interpreted by the Express as clear indication Portugal wants to take the bit between its teeth.

“We cannot do bilateral negotiations until March 2019”, the minister told the meeting.

“As far as Tourism in concerned, it is the Autonomous Region of Madeira, the Algarve and also the Metropolitan Area of Lisbon that we should be concentrating our attention on.

“We know that with regard to goods, it is more in the north that effects (of a no-deal Brexit) may be more worrying”, he continued - adding that one of the “worst affected” areas will be the automative and auto car parts sector.

To put the no-deal scenario into stark perspective: consequences for Portugal could see exports to UK drop by a staggering 26%.

That’s anything between 0.5% and 1% of GDP, explained Santos Silva, quoting what the Express calls a “shuddering report” commissioned by the CIP.

The report “demands government and industry increase their efforts to promote Portugal in the British market, particularly for its most at risk sectors”, the Express concludes, possibly not aware that Portugal has in fact been “promoting” itself in the British market since the referendum, with various initiatives, not least the PortugalIn Task Force (click here).

Here, Público alludes to Santos Silva’s interventions at CIP conference, and his comments that he has “no doubts” that he would “very easily reach a bilateral agreement” with Britain if he was in Barnier’s position.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com

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