Costa in India promotes Portugal as “country of tolerance and open economy”

Brushing off criticism that he hasn’t cancelled his State visit to return for the funeral ceremonies of Mário Soares, prime minister António Costa is busy “selling Portugal” to people in India as he completes a five-day official visit flanked by secretaries of State and ministers of defence, economy and foreign affairs.

Opening the Indian diaspora world convention in Bangalore, Europe’s first prime minister of Indian extraction presented the country that his Goan father adopted many years ago as “exemplary” for religious tolerance, with a competitive economy, excellent infrastructures and “open to direct foreign investment”.

Público stressed Costa’s message about Portugal’s culture for religious tolerance, saying that he sought out representatives of the Indian diaspora, inviting them to come to Portugal to “invest, study and live”.

“I can assure you that Portugal is a country that will receive you with open arms” was the message, along with the pledge that the Portuguese government “is in permanent action to create the best environment for business, placing investment at the centre of its strategy”.

The PM who only recently saw international publications like the FT singing his praises (click here) added that Portugal is “in a key geographic position” to give businesses access to world markets, with even the same time zone as countries like Ireland and the UK, as well as direct flights to 121 cities.


But while Costa sings the praises of his father’s adopted homeland, the President of Casa de Goa Edgar Valles has sounded the alarm over the Portuguese law that allows Indians to apply for Portuguese nationality if they had a father or grandfather who was born in Goa before 1961.

As numerous police investigations have shown, the law is open to abuse by networks that have ‘sold’ fake Goan identities to people desperate to make a new life in what they perceive to be Europe’s growing economy.

Valles claims as many as 20,000 Indians have taken on Portuguese nationality over the years, with many thousands applying still. The problem, he says, is that “the majority of those thousands who have asked for a Portuguese passport in the last 10 years have not come to Portugal” at all.

They have “used” their passport as a “turning plate to go to the UK where they can get better salaries”.

Valles considers that it is time to change the law, so that applicants are made to have at least “some connection to Portugal” before being given nationality.

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