Portugal

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France and Portugal

Political relations

Our bilateral relations with Portugal are excellent in all areas, and our bilateral dialogue has strengthened considerably in recent years. Our dialogue has increased in recent years with the signature of new agreements concerning taxation, language and education, as well as in the field of posted workers and health care. France and Portugal agreed during the visit of the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs to Portugal in early 2018 to take steps towards respective admission as observers at the Community of Countries of Portuguese Language (CPLP) for France, and the International Organisation of La Francophonie (IOF) for Portugal, very probably at the Tunis Summit in 2020. France was admitted as an associated observer State within the CPLP through a decision of the conference of the Heads of State and Government meeting on 17 and 18 July in Santa Maria, Cabo Verde. This initiative is the natural extension of the intense and strong ties linking France and the Portuguese-speaking world and Portugal itself, while illustrating France’s commitment to promoting multilingualism and cultural diversity.

Visits

To Portugal:

  • Visit by the Minister of Defence on 4-5 February 2019.
  • Visit by the President of the French Republic to Lisbon on 27 July 2018 for the Second Energy Interconnections Summit between France and the Iberian Peninsula.
  • Visit by the Minister for European Affairs on 6 February 2018.
  • Visit by the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs on 4 January 2018.

To France:

  • Visit by the Minister for Defence, João Cravinho, on 13-14 April 2019 (commemoration of the Battle of the Lys).
  • Meeting between the Portuguese Minister of State for European Affairs, Ana Paula Zacarias, and the French Minister for European Affairs, Nathalie Loiseau, on 11 October 2018.
  • Participation of the Portuguese Minister of State for European Affairs, Ana Paula Zacarias, in a Citizens’ Consultation on the future of Europe, with the French Minister for European Affairs, Nathalie Loiseau, on 25 April 2018.
  • Visit by President de Sousa and Prime Minister António Costa on 9 April 2018 for the commemoration of the Battle of the Lys (1918), with the President of the French Republic.
  • Visit to Paris by the Prime Minister, António Costa, for the One Planet Summit on 13 December 2017. Meeting with the Prime Minister on the side-lines of the Summit.
  • Visit to Paris by the Prime Minister, António Costa on 28 July 2017 (meeting with the President of the Republic).

Further information on French-Portuguese relations (in French)

Economic relations

Economic relations between France and Portugal reflect and maintain our excellent bilateral relationship: France remains Portugal’s second-largest customer (13.1% of Portuguese exports) and third-largest supplier (7.8% of Portuguese imports), while Portugal remains a less significant trading partner for France, as its 14th-largest customer (1.1% of French exports, up one place on 2017) and 14th-largest supplier (1.3% of French imports, down one place on 2017). French exports to Portugal were €2.7 billion (up 7.7%) and French imports from Portugal were €3.5 billion (up 15.8%); this means that France has a commercial deficit of €836 million, compared to €549.3 million in the first half of 2017. The results of bilateral trade in the first half of 2018 were heavily affected by trade in transport equipment, mainly French imports of cars manufactured in Portugal.

French presence in the country, however, continues to grow. French companies in Portugal are ranked second behind Spain in terms of the number of companies present (609 in 2017), employees (more than 46,112) and turnover (€14.274 billion). Twelve percent of foreign companies in Portugal are French. France is therefore the number one foreign country generating added value in Portugal.

For more information, visit https://www.tresor.economie.gouv.fr/Ressources/pays/Portugal

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

Our work draws on a network made up of the Institut Français du Portugal and 10 Alliances Françaises, the Lycée Français Charles Lepierre of Lisbon, a prestigious secondary school in Portugal, and the French international lycée in Porto.
Our work focuses on four main areas:

Scientific and research cooperation

We enjoy close bilateral cooperation: meetings between Ministers of Higher Education and Research, partnership agreements between national agencies. As part of the Horizon 2020 programme, France is Portugal’s fifth-largest partner. Two restructured programmes under the name of “Pessoa” have been co-financed: the Hubert Curien Partnership for science and technology and the joint supervision of theses with the Portuguese Conference of University Presidents.

Educational and linguistic cooperation

French is not widely taught in many primary schools because of the growing popularity of English, but in secondary schools it is chosen as a second foreign language by 80% of students (265,000 in junior high but only 30,000 in senior high). Our educational and linguistic cooperation is focused on the development of French-language European sections in schools and the development of official French certifications (DELF/DALF) in the network of Alliance Française branches and schools.

Academic cooperation

Various exchange programmes are promoted through the network of French language assistants. France is the number two destination for individual mobility, with the number of Portuguese students remaining stable at 5,900. It ranks sixth among Portuguese students on the Erasmus programme.

Cultural and broadcasting cooperation

The Franco-Portuguese Institute (IFP) was created in 1937. It focuses its strategy on activities outside its walls, building on partnerships with Portuguese institutions and co-productions as part of major events and trend-leading venues (Almada Festival, Alkantara Festival, Serralves Foundation, São Luiz Theatre, etc.). Among other events, it organizes the French cinema festival, which is highly popular among Portuguese filmgoers.

For further information, see the Franco-Portuguese Institute website (in French): www.ifp-lisboa.com

Other cooperation

  • - In the defence field, our cooperation, based on regular political and military discussions, contributes to maintaining a favourable climate for our defence interests (access to the vast air/sea area under Portuguese control), to ensuring our proposals are taken into account, notably within the security and defence organizations and bodies to which we both belong (EU, NATO, 5+5 dialogue, etc.), and to maintaining Portugal’s support in African theatres of operation.
  • - In the area of internal security, cooperation is extensive and seeks to combat drug trafficking, organized crime, document fraud and illegal immigration. Multilateral cooperation in the Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre – Narcotics in Lisbon is producing very encouraging results.

Updated: 24 April 2019