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Friday Briefing: Government Ponders Migration Quotas

Good morning and welcome to PORTUGAL DECODED. It might not have felt like it over the last couple of days, but the winds of change are blowing. So, grab a cold drink and let’s get cracking.


Greta Thunberg joined Portuguese youths outside the ECHR on April 9, 2024. AP Photo | Jean-Francois Badias


The new Government presented its plan for the legislature, which is expected to be approved today in Parliament. The plan includes tax cuts, the extension of anti-corruption rules, possible immigration quotas (see below), a reverse of housing measures adopted by the previous Government, among others (More).
A former PM, the leader of Chega, and the current Defense Minister took part in the launch of a book that argues that euthanasia, abortion, gender ideology and gay marriage “damaged the family institution”, sparking a new cultural war (More).


The European Court of Human Rights threw out a climate lawsuit brought by six Portuguese youths in 2020. The case accuses 32 European countries of violating human rights by not fully addressing the causes of global warming (More).
A man and a boy died, and two other men are missing, after their pleasure boat sank on Sunday off the coast of Tróia, Grândola. The fifth person on the boat, its 62-year-old helmsman, was rescued by a passing vessel (More).


Paddy Cosgrave returned as Web Summit CEO after stepping down last October amid a backlash over comments he made over the Israel-Gaza war (More).
Negative prices in energy markets, largely due to a combination of favourable weather conditions and an increase in renewable energy production, prompted EDP to cut consumer electricity prices by 7% and gas prices by 14% in June (More).


Brazilian author Itamar Vieira Junior is among the finalists for this year’s edition of the International Booker Prize with “Crooked Plow”, translated from the Portuguese by Johnny Lorenz (More).
The winners of the Boa Cama Boa Mesa Guide Restaurant 2024 were announced this week. Rodrigo Castelo from Ó Balcão won the coveted Chef of the Year award (More).


The new Government’s Immigration Reshuffle

As part of its plan for the legislature, the new Government annouced this week its intention to reshuffle Portugal’s migration policy to guarantee “that immigrants in Portugal have their fundamental rights respected and promoted.”

Why the reshuffle?

Luís Montenegro’s executive believes that Portugal has “ineffective” legislation that allows the proliferation of “human trafficking networks capable of social atrocities rarely seen,” resulting in “complex social problems such as the housing shortages and the persistence of xenophobic phenomena.”

What will it do?

The executive admits to changing “the regime so that residence permits are based on previously concluded work contracts or through a work-seeking visa.”

What else?

The Government will also encourage immigrant associations with a view to involving them in the planning and evaluation of public integration policies. It also seeks to create “an attraction, reception and integration program, promoting, whenever possible, regulated immigration of family nuclei” and to “attract qualified immigration” to “respond to demographic and labor needs work in Portugal”. This includes measures to promote the teaching of Portuguese language and culture.

Reactions so far?

Migration specialist Jorge Malheiros criticised the political discourse that separates “good and bad” immigrants. “It's not a bad thing to point out that immigration is an important issue on the current government's political agenda,” but the way it has been approached reveals “biased and incomplete components,” he explained.

How likely is it to happen?

50% chance. Luís Montenegro promised a migration reshuffle on the campain trail and, in his inauguration speech, said that “we are a country with doors open to immigration, but not wide open.” However, the fact that the Government’s document only “admits” to introducing migration suggests a recognition that it might not have the political and/or technical conditions to conduct this reform. Plus, the fact that the Government will not have a dedicated ministerial post for migrations (Minister of the Presidency, António Leitão Amaro will be responsible for the dossier) indicates that it’s not high up in its priorities.



Italian Film Festival

"C’è ancora domani" de Paola Cortellesi

In 2024, the Italian Film Festival (Festa do Cinema Italiano) is back with a program that showcases the most recent Italian productions, but also emblematic films that have marked the history of cinema. There will be the retrospective The Other April 25 / L’altro 25 Aprile, at Cinemateca, which celebrates April 25, 1945, the date on which Mussolini’s fascism and the Nazi occupation ended. And the cycle Without Censorship – Successes of Italian Cinema after April 25, which brings together some of the Italian films that were successful in the 70s in Portugal. Side events include La Trionferà concert, with songs and readings by Massimo Zamboni, and a route revealing the best of Italian gastronomy in the capital. Full schedule here.

Lisbon Art & Antiques Fair (LAAF)

The Lisbon Art & Antiques Fair is an annual showcase for the city’s preeminent art galleries, interior designers and antiques dealers, taking place at the emblematic Cordoaria Nacional on April 12-21. Visitors to the fair will enjoy seeing classic, modern and contemporary paintings, jewelry, rugs, sacred art, sculpture and decorative arts. All of the works presented at the fair are subject to validation by an expert committee, composed by recognized authorities from museums, academics and antique dealers. Opening Hours: From the 13th to the 18th and on the 20th, from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., Fridays, the 12th and 19th, from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday 21st, from 3pm to 7pm. €15 – Individual ticket; €25 – Double Ticket, with Catalog.


This is the Dawn

The Symphony Orchestra, the Casa da Música Choir and the Children's Choir will come together at Casa da Música to present This is the Dawn (“Esta é a madrugada”) - a set of poems by Sophia de Mello Breyner turned into music by Daniel Moreira. There will also be an orchestral version of American Settings, by Vasco Mendonça, with the voice of English countertenor Lestyn Davies, to interpret texts by American authors on social problems, racism and neo-colonialism. Avenida da Boavista, 104, 19 Apr, Fri, 21.00. Tickets: 19-24€.


Cascais Butterfly Garden

The only Butterfly Garden in Portugal, located in the Urban Park of Quinta de Rana, in Cascais, reopened on April 6 after renovation works. Shaped like a cocoon, the garden aims to protect the 370 or so species of butterflies that live in Cascais area. Besides seeing the different species, it is possible to observe the different stages of its life cycle: eggs, caterpillars, pupae and butterflies. It is open every day from 10am to 1pm and from 2pm to 4pm. Phone: (+351) 215 811 750; Email:

Tapas and Wines from Tejo

A snack and a glass of wine for 10€ or less in almost 30 restaurants and gastrobars in Santarém - this is the simple proposition of Petiscos & Vinhos do Tejo, which runs until May 5. This year, Rodrigo Castelo, who recently won the Chef of the Year award (see above), is the curator. As part of this event, the “Rota do Petisco & Vinhos do Tejo” competition is taking place, which invites you to visit different places to savour regional snacks and wines, marking this on a kind of passport created for the purpose. The first 15 people to register visits to ten participating venues will win three bottles of Tejo wine (one white, one red and one rosé).

New Urban Art Murals

As part of the celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the Carnation Revolution, Benavente Town Council invited three renowned artists - Gonçalo Mar, Joana Pitanga and João Massano - to paint murals in two of the town's schools and on a public wall. The final result will be on display from April 12, starting at 11.00am.

* While you’re here: follow PORTUGAL DECODED on our new Instagram account to receive daily updates on what’s happening in Portugal.


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