Government moves to Caixa Geral building
Portugal’s new government is to move its centre of operations to the same building which is currently the headquarters of the State-owned bank Caixa Geral de Depósitos in Lisbon’s Campo Pequeno district.
Those ministries which are directly responsible for carrying out the RRP (Recovery and Resilience Plan) will be the first to move into floors which are unoccupied by the bank by the end of the year.
The move which was announced on Wednesday by the Prime Minister António Costa will be coordinated by the Presidency of the Council of Ministers.
“This change in the Government’s operating model will enable dozens of intermediate posts and services to be reduced”, explains António Costa in a communiqué about the administrative restructuring.
The Government has not yet said which ministries will be transferred to the building on Lisbon’s Avenida João XXI, but Territorial Cohesion is expected to be one, Economy, Digital Transition, Foreign Affairs, Presidency, Finances, Planning and Environment and Climate Action are mooted to be others.
The idea of concentrating several ministries in one building, namely the Caixa building, had already been on the table for some time.
António Costa has already said that the move would “create many synergies, allowing teams to work better together while saving resources in terms of government operations”.
According to the President of Caixa Geral de Depósitos, Paulo Macedo in February, several floors in the bank building which were in a poor state have been subject to refurbishments in recent years in preparation for them being rented out.
At that time there were more interested parties than the government, including regulators, the tax authorities and several large companies.
For the time being, Caixa is freeing up one floor in a first phase of letting, but hinted that it could rent out the whole available office space and itself move to another location in Lisbon.
One option on the table is that the State could buy the Caixa headquarters (it was sold by the bank to a pension fund in 2010 for €250 million), or alternatively do an exchange for other public buildings that have or will become unoccupied, or even co-own the building.