Portugal and Ireland are exploring the possibility of working together as part of the European Union’s new partnership with Africa to diversify investments, currently focusing on large African countries, into Portuguese-language countries.
The information was presented to Lusa on Thursday by the secretary of state for European Affairs, Ana Paula Zacarias, at the end of a two-day visit to the Republic of Ireland.
“We have talked several times about the possibility that, within the framework of the new European partnership with Africa, there will be the possibility of moving forward together,” Ana Paula Zacarias said.
The secretary of state explained that the partnership is very much in line with investment, the promotion of private investment, to improve trade relations and to diversify these trade relations and, given that they are very focused on all the major African countries, it is in Portugal’s interest to diversify to other countries, namely the Portuguese-language countries.
Last June’s European Council adopted a new partnership between Europe and Africa as one of the goals of the EU’s strategic agenda until 2024.
Apart from working together in the European framework, Ana Paula Zacarias, who met with her Irish counterpart, Helen McEntee, addressed the strengthening of bilateral relations.
Zacarias pointed out the goal of improving trade potential, in a context in which Ireland is only Portugal’s 23rd trading partner.
Since a representative of the Portuguese Agency for Investment and Foreign Trade (AICEP) was appointed to the Portuguese embassy in Dublin last July, in a few months, the number of Portuguese companies interested in getting to know the Irish market in knowing how they can diversify their exports or make some kind of investment, she said.
She stressed, however, that the strengthening of the relationship goes beyond the economic aspect, and should involve greater mutual knowledge between the Portuguese and the Irish, starting with the recognition of some similarities, even sometimes of character, such as the pragmatic idea of finding results, of resolving things and at the same time having credibility.
“Both countries are builders of bridges, both have large migratory communities abroad (…) and we are very resilient,” Zacarias said.
This strengthening of ties between the two countries serves yet another purpose, that of strengthening the geostrategic line of work in the Atlantic area, that is, with the European countries facing the Atlantic.
“The United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union now means that we have to bet on the other Nordic European partners that are in the Union, all countries of a more or less similar size to ours,” she said, pointing to Ireland, Belgium, Denmark and Sweden as examples.