Five things to know about Portugal
A haven for European retirees that has become a world champion in vaccination against Covid-19, Portugal will hold a general election on Sunday. Here are five things to know about the country:
haven for European retirees that has become a world champion in vaccination against Covid-19, Portugal will hold a general election on Sunday. Here are five things to know about the country:
– Vaccine success –
With over 90 percent of its total population of around 10 million people fully vaccinated against Covid-19, Portugal has the highest rate of immunisation in Europe, just ahead of Spain. It has the third highest rate in the world after the UAE and Brunei.
The country has also already administered a booster shot to around 40 percent of its residents.
– Retirement haven –
Foreigners eyeing a place in the sun for their retirement are drawn to Portugal because of its extensive coastline, mild weather, affordable real estate — and generous tax incentives.
Under a measure introduced in 2009 as the country plunged into a debt crisis, pensions from abroad can be drawn tax-free in Portugal for a decade, in a bid to attract foreign investment and give the real estate market a boost.
s a result, thousands of retirees, mainly from Britain, France and Italy, have moved to the country, which is sometimes dubbed “Europe’s Florida”, giving the property sector a huge boost.
– Chinese investment –
During Portugal’s debt crisis when few countries were willing to invest in what was one of the weakest links in the eurozone, Lisbon encouraged Chinese investment in several troubled flagship Portuguese firms.
These included electrical company EDP, power grid operator REN and the country’s biggest private bank, BCP.
– Huge diaspora –
If the descendants of migrants are counted, the size of the Portuguese diaspora around the world stands at roughly five million people.
France is home to the biggest foreign Portuguese community, totalling around 600,000 people.
round 16 percent of tiny Luxembourg’s population of just over 600,000 are Portuguese — roughly one in six people there.
round 1.5 million Portuguese nationals living abroad are registered in the electoral rolls and are eligible to vote on Sunday.
They represent over 15 percent of the total electorate,
– Cork champion –
Portugal is the world’s largest cork producer. It accounts for nearly half of the world’s cork output, producing 85,000 tonnes annually, according to the Portuguese Cork Association.
Cork is made from the bark of the cork oak (Quercus suber), which covers around 720,000 hectares (1,780,000 acres) of land in Portugal, more than in any other country.
Portuguese cork producers have sought to diversify its use beyond wine bottle stoppers, with the material increasingly used as building insulation as well as in footwear, furniture and even the aerospace industry.
In 2020 the Lisbon metro replaced the fabric lining on all seats of its train fleet with cork, an easier to maintain material.