Formidable relationships with key countries across all continents and a business environment that thrives on disruptive technologies are just two reasons why Portugal is set to reach new highs.

António Costa

Prime Minister, Portugal

It has become somewhat of a cliché, but a necessary one, to recall the Treaty of Windsor of 1386, which makes the Portugal-UK relationship the longest-standing diplomatic alliance in existence between two countries in the world. The ties between our countries are deeply rooted in culture and anchored in the vivid and growing communities of Portuguese in the UK and British expats in Portugal. The important thing now is to minimize the negative consequences of Brexit and develop a relationship as close as possible with the UK. British businesses will continue to cross the Channel in search of custom and profit, as will our own. The UK is our largest source of tourists, our fourth-largest export market, and our fourth-largest source of FDI. That preference continues to this day. British investment in Portugal grew at a faster pace than EU investment in Portugal did over the past two years. And over the last year, it multiplied by five. These are the dividends of a special relationship nurtured over centuries, and they pay both ways.

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa

President, Portugal

There are two different views of the world. One, short-term, is unilateral or monoliteral, protectionist, with domestic populist discourse, minimizing multilateralism in anything to do with sustainable development, prone to climate change denial, opposed to global pacts on migration and refugees, and only interested in conflict prevention and peacekeeping where and when, occasionally, it matters. The other, opposing, view, which we share, is multilateral, open, and favorable to the search for global governance, committed to sustainable development regarding international law, the charter, and human rights as values and principles, and never as means or conveniences. We are confident that, in the medium to long term, this view will prevail, as it has prevailed in the EU, which has given Europe the longest period of peace in living memory and the highest levels of welfare and social protection. Our view of the world situation and of the role of the UN explains our positions on so-called regional questions that are global in scope. Portugal believes multilateral action, political dialogue, and diplomatic wisdom are the only possible route to harmonious coexistence between nations and peoples.

Manuel Caldeira Cabral

Former Minister of Economy, Portugal

The government has used anti-austerity measures to unleash society's existing growth potential. The first major impact of this was to boost citizen and consumer confidence, and this was also reflected in the confidence of investors. Paired together, these trends generated an atmosphere of certainty and led to not just a continuation but an acceleration of growth, far above the EU average. Our investment grew by 13% in 2017, the biggest increase in 18 years, mostly in private investment, both Portuguese and FDI. The signals we gave off were, first, that we are an open economy for trade, investment, and visitors. Second, we instilled stability into the public accounts. With more growth, we have more revenues and less people in unemployment, which reduces the costs of unemployment benefit and social security. We also sent a clear message about fiscal stability in our three already approved budgets; we have no need to drum up revenue by hiking taxes. We managed through better management and harnessing of the opportunities created by economic growth to reduce the debt burden, while maintaining fiscal stability.

António Sá da Costa

President, Association of Renewable Energy (APREN)

When we established this association 30 years ago, our objective was shaped by the fact that all electrical business production, transport, and distribution was owned by the state through EDP since 1976. The sector was subsequently opened to private investment. The role of the association remains essential to unify the different investors in the system for the production of electricity. We want Portugal to have a higher share of renewable electricity in order to support the reduction of CO2 emissions and fight climate change. The companies that are members of APREN represent 93% of all renewable power installed in Portugal and on average produce a little more than half of the electricity consumed throughout the country. We work to find solutions for our sector; we address either technical or fiscal problems, those concerning the environment, as well as ways to interact with the remuneration of the sector for electricity production. We started from a system that basically involved feed-in tariffs and transitioned gradually to one determined by the market.

João Pedro Matos Fernandes

Minister of Environment and Energy Transition, Portugal

Portugal has a trifecta of highly valued assets, such as the sea, sun, and wind, and I would risk a fourth: skill. When we think of the green energy sector, we tend to focus on the big projects: windmill, solar, and water. It is a fact that we have an extremely high-value industry both in hardware and software. It is not by chance that we attract companies such as Siemens, which may come to benefit of experienced Portuguese companies like A. Silva Matos and others; however, the green energy sector is also made of smaller projects. Take bio-economy, for example, in which we have an enormous potential for development, not only on the “blue” side—seas and rivers—but also on the “green” side—forests and agriculture—combining the cascading of value extraction from natural biomass with energy production. And in that context, we certainly have a solid and growing pool of companies and competences, from north to south of the country such as CIIMAR in Leixões, BLC3 in Oliveira do Hospital, Católica School in Porto, and companies like SilicoLife and A4F.

António Saravia

President, Confederation of Portuguese Industries (CIP)

Portugal is a small but open economy. It has had throughout its history a differentiation: its relationship with both Africa and the Americas. We have a virtuous triangle: Europe, Africa, and the Americas. Through its history, culture, and relationships with countries that speak Portuguese as an official language, Portugal can help the EU face the challenge of globalization. Our privileged relationships can bring greater synergies to Europe and simultaneously allow Africa and the Americas to see Portugal as the gateway to Europe. However, Europe also has challenges, its biggest being dissolution. It is not just Brexit, but also Catalonia and the autonomous movements in Spain. We also have to consider how Brexit reflects on the reality of the UK. These are challenges that are beginning to undermine European cohesion. If we start thinking about the future, we will have not one Europe but 27 states with distinct realities. Portugal through its historical relationship with the world has a great power of knowledge and this rich history can be utilized by Europe.

Manuel Heitor

Minister of Science, Technology & Higher Education, Portugal

National short-, medium- and long-term strategies for the development of digital skills were set out through the National Digital Skills Initiative (INCoDe2030), so that by 2030 approximately nine out of 10 citizens are frequent users of the internet, and we increased by 50% the number of IT experts in companies. The strategies include, among other aspects, providing support to creative communities in the area of inclusion and at a local and decentralized level throughout the country in close interaction with the local/regional administrations; supporting teachers in the progressive and systematic modernization of the education system working closely with the Minister of Education and related central and regional administrations; establishing regional networks of qualification and digital specialization, namely through partnerships between polytechnics, local administration, and companies namely in the regions of West-Leiria, Cavado and Ave, Nordeste Transmontano-Bragança, Castelo Branco, and Setúbal-Palmela; the establishment of a national AI strategy, with the specific involvement of the public administration, R&D centers, and companies and in close European interaction; and the development of advanced forms of computing, including the creation of the Minho Advanced Computing Center-MACC.

Rogério Carapuça

President, Portuguese Association for the Development of Communications (APDC)

The IT and ICT sectors are revolutionizing and disrupting all industries. The question is not if ICT will disrupt business, but when and how much it will change some particulars of the market. For example, in the last seven to eight years, the media and entertainment sector in Portugal lost 40% of its advertising revenues. Digitization is basically a revolution; if we talk solely about technology-related transformations, we had the agricultural, the industrial, and now the digital revolution. The difference is that the digital revolution transforms business and society in a much shorter timeframe than previous revolutions, which took hundreds of years. The first part of the digital revolution was the appearance of computers that could take over support functions for businesses. However, the real revolution started in the last 20 years when businesses were completely transformed due to the exponential growth of several variables that has been maintained from 1958 to date. Things that were impossible 20 or 30 years ago are now easy as a result of the computing power to do them.

Marta Temido

Minister of Health, Portugal

In Portugal, the private sector always played a role in the provision of healthcare services in specific areas. The relationship between the public and private areas is of complementarity though also to some effect competitive; in fact, the Basic Law of 1990 envisaged a competitive relationship between both sectors. Traditionally, the private sector provides care in some of the most lucrative areas and where the public sector fails to provide full or timely coverage, as is the case of medical specialist appointments, elective surgery, and medical exams. In the last two decades, the provision of healthcare services by the private sector has shifted from small medical cabinets, geographically spread, and more abundant in urban areas to variable size, well-equipped, high-quality clinics, and small hospitals where medical specialists are concentrated and specialized, and medical exams are readily available. This happened alongside the increase in the percentage of the population covered by a voluntary health insurance, estimated to be 20% in 2014. There are great examples of the relationship between the private and public sectors in the provision of care, such as the dental voucher, where the government contracts with private providers for specific oral care screenings and treatments for vulnerable groups of the population, or the provision of specific services in community pharmacies that are privately owned and well spread throughout the country.