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Posted by portugalpress on July 06, 2018

Now we know why President Trump posted that “it-was-an-honor-to-meet-President-Marcelo” clip on Twitter last week. His ambassador to Portugal George Glass credits Portugal’s Head of State with the charisma of a superstar.

“Travelling with President Marcelo is like going on tour with Mick Jagger”, he has told Lusa.

“Huge crowds want to meet with him and just want to be with him”.

Then of course there are those snap-happy selfies that people take away with them as permanent mementos.

Yes, Portugal’s president has found ‘the way’ to charm people of all ages, types and backgrounds.

With President Trump - known for his unpredictability - Marcelo basically embarked on an animated history lesson, perhaps well aware that this wouldn’t receive too many interruptions (click here).

Now that he’s back - and has even been on stage at Rock in Rio with iconic band Xutos & Pontapés - the fruits of his visits over the Pond this month are ripening nicely.

Ambassador Glass tells Lusa that Portugal has “a tremendous opportunity” to make its mark in the USA.

Giving the example of the leap in numbers of visiting American tourists, he said: “we’re at an historic high point in relations between the two countries. Statistics show that the number of American tourists in Portugal over the last three years have tripled”.

And choosing his words almost verbatim from Marcelo’s history lesson to President Trump, he stressed: “Our relationship goes beyond the economy, or defence. It’s in our blood. We have over a million citizens with Portuguese ancestry in our country”.

And so national media lapped up the PR section of an interview that otherwise talked of this country starting to import large quantities of United States’ “natural gas” (for this read ‘fracked shale gas’) for onward supply to the European continent.

SINES PORT COULD BECOME THE SINGAPORE OF WESTERN EUROPE

Glass told Lusa that he believes Sines could become “the Singapore of Western Europe”, cancelling out the need for countries to import gas from Russia.

Later this month in Lisbon there is to be “a gas summit” between Portugal, Spain and France to discuss the creation of a European market in natural gas, piped across Iberia and over the Pyrenees.

Said Glass the idea is that gas could be pumped from any part in Europe - and if connected to the European pipelines, the Port of Sines “could without doubt be the infrastructure best positioned to receive liquid natural gas from the United States”.

These have all been plans long in the making. Sines Port is already responsible for receiving a third of natural gas imports destined for Europe. But the US has other issues in mind. Brexit being paramount.

“The Portuguese people tend to be humble but this is the time to let go of this humility and be bold”, Glass told his interviewer.

Because of Brexit, “many US companies which have London as their base will have to find other options because they need to reach the EU” - and that is where Portugal should leap in.

Ambassador Glass is quoted as saying that he is doing everything he can to push this mindset on, but that “civil society has to be up for it”.

The former Oregon businessman added that American investors are already very excited about Portugal - particularly when it comes to agricultural projects in the Alentejo region - because of the “unlimited access to water” thanks to the Alqueva dam.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com

Photo: Uploaded from Facebook and shows Portugal's president in full flow at one of the many banquets laid on in his honour in the United States. Ambassador Glass is sitting next to him (furthest away from the photographer). Photograph taken by Snapdragon Photography/ Chris Graeme

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