Portugal’s number one priority is to avoid chaos following Brexit says minister
As the United Kingdom is Portugal’s fourth most important client in terms of exports and most important for services, the Government’s current priority is to avoid chaos as a result of Brexit.
This was the central message of Portugal’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Augusto Santos Silva who addressed US, UK and Portuguese business members at a lunch organised by the American Club of Lisbon at the Sheraton Hotel & Spa on Friday.
Santos Silva said that Portugal, and indeed Europe, wanted to make the divorce between the UK and EU as “amicable as possible” and were prepared to reconstruct in future a post-Brexit relationship that would be as near to and as close as it is now.
“We all have to be committed, both Europeans and British, to avoid any scenes of chaos at our ports of entry and departure from April, because if we don’t the economic consequences will be huge while the political and psychological consequences would be even greater and more negative,” the minister stressed.
Keep calm and carry on
The foreign minister made it clear that in Portugal the Government was informing “our fellow British citizens living in Portugal that they are welcome. “Please stay, keep calm and carry on as usual,” he said to quote Winston Churchill’s famous 1940s war slogan — ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’.
“We will ensure that the flow of tourists will be as simple and effective as possible” he said, adding that nothing would change for UK citizens on the Social Security and National Health Service fronts, while recognition and acceptance of professional qualifications would also be respected from the Portuguese side.