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Archive for Portugal

Newsline: Angola’s Lisbon Embassy windows smashed

Angola’s ambassador to Lisbon said there was no connection between the act of vandalism against the Lisbon embassy early Sunday morning and the current state of relations between the two countries. “We believe this act was just an incident but we have to take care that this kind of thing doesn’t happen again”, Marcos Barrica, told the Angolan news agency Angop. Refusing to come to “any immediate conclusions”, the diplomat said it was “too early to conclude that the reason behind the incident had anything to do with the poorer relations with Portugal”. The embassy services are going to continue to work normally while the police investigate the incident. Estevão Alberto, the embassy press attaché said “paving stones had been thrown against the Avenida da Republica building and windows in the entrance hall and visitor room had been broken”, but the losses had not yet been calculated. The Portuguese government has condemned the “disturbances” on Sunday by “a group of unknown individuals” that caused damage to the building.



Newsline: Ecuador closes 9 embassies due to “lack of reciprocity”

Nine of Ecuador’s embassies around the world, including its embassy in Portugal, are to close due to a lack of reciprocity and a desire to cut costs, President Rafael Correa announced. “We have 49 embassies around the world but eleven of these countries do not have any reciprocity and thus without any ambassadors accredited to Ecuador,” explained Correa before identifying the Ecuadorian Embassies to Portugal, the Netherlands, Belgium, South Africa, Austria, Australia and Malaysia as among those slated for shutdown. “There will be a significant reduction in costs and savings to the country,” the president emphasised before adding that he was being “realistic” as while India might not need an embassy in Quito, Ecuador needed representation to New Delhi.


Newsline: Brazil seizes Portuguese plane to pay embassy workers

A Brazilian judge ordered the seizure of a plane from Portugal’s TAP airline to help pay workers at the Portuguese Embassy here who had won a ruling against the diplomatic missions, lawyers said Friday. TAP expressed surprise at the order, calling it “illegal,” and said that it had not been notified. But regional Labor Court Judge Luize Fausto de Medeiros approved the seizure of the Airbus A330-200 aircraft, noting that “the Portuguese government owns all of its shares.” Brazilian employees of the Portuguese Embassy, which in 2004 reached an agreement to regularize their employment status, filed a lawsuit in 2010 over a progressive reduction in their salaries that subsequently occurred. The workers were paid in foreign currency converted into the Brazilian real, and were adversely affected by appreciation of the real. “Some were earning about 6,000 real (equivalent to $3,000) at the time and today earn almost half of that,” the complaint said. Although the plane seizure is an unusual form of compensation, it will be executed next week, according to the workers’ attorney Borges Rezende.


Newsline: Slovenia closing embassies in Sweden, Finland, Portugal and Ireland

President Danilo Türk has signed decrees implementing the closure of four embassies, Foreign Minster Karl Erjavec announced. Foreign Ministry following Austerity Meausers Erjavec explained that the decision to close the embassy in Sweden instead of that in Denmark was based on reciprocity, as Sweden also closed its embassy in Ljubljana. He added that the embassy in Copenhagen would easily cover Slovenia’s diplomatic needs in Scandinavia. The foreign minister stressed that his ministry would strengthen the role of honorary consuls. Erjavec said he and Türk agreed that Slovenia’s strategic policy was “not to close the embassies and save money, but rather to reorganise the diplomatic network”. The ministry however plans to save some EUR 1.8m per year with this measure. While austerity also hit the Foreign Ministry, Erjavec expects to open at least one embassy in this term, most likely in central Africa, where Slovenia has great business interests. The minister would also like to open an embassy somewhere in the Gulf. Apart from the four embassies, the government decided to close two general consulates, reportedly those in Düsseldorf and New York. Slovenians living in New York have however urged the government to abandon its plans to close the consulate in the US metropolis, stressing that the move would cause irreparable economic and cultural damage, and undermine Slovenia’s reputation in the US and the world.


Newsline: Portugal to Temporarily Close Embassy in Estonia

To ease the Eurozone debt crisis impact, Portugal has decided to temporarily close down several of its foreign embassies next year, including the one in Tallinn. The Portuguese Embassy in Helsinki will take over the functions of the office in Estonia. In addition, embassies in Kenya, Malta, Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina and the other two Baltic nations will also be temporarily closed and their jurisdiction passed on to nearest delegations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Portugal said in a statement. With cutting back on staff numbers and merging embassies, Portugal hopes to save around 12 million euros next year.