Letter from Cascais

Summer in Cascais – our second summer under the impact of the Covid pandemic!

Our municipality is part of the Metropolitan Area of Lisbon, which has become a new high-risk area, since the number of virus infections has exploded during the last couple of weeks.

On recent weekends, entering and exiting this area was prohibited.

International travel is also affected. The German government has decreed that travellers arriving from Portugal (like those from Russia and the United Kingdom) must go into quarantine for two weeks.

Most other European countries are faring much better, especially those which extended lockdown measures much longer than Portugal and relaxed them much more gradually.

More unfortunate news came on Sunday when Portugal’s national football team was beaten by Belgium and thus eliminated from the European Championship competition.

This week, Portugal’s six-month presidency of the EU Council will end, earning praise from Brussels for its work.

Slovenia will assume the EU presidency for the next six months on July 1.

Slovenia’s membership of the European Union reminds us of the fateful events in the Balkans 30 years ago. On June 25, 1991, Croatia and Slovenia declared their exit from Yugoslavia, thus triggering the demise of the Yugoslav union, which held together historically different Slavic nations (as Winston Churchill once remarked: “The peoples of the Balkans own more history than they can digest.”)

While Belgrade and Slovenia reached an early peaceful agreement about the latter’s independence, Croatia’s declaration of independence resulted in warfare between Croats and Serbs for several years before the so-called Dayton Accord facilitated peace in 1995. Severe tensions remain as well as the memory of terrible war crimes.

Here in Portugal, on June 10, Portugal Day was celebrated. The day commemorates the death, in June 1580, of Luís de Camões, the famous poet and literary icon. It is also celebrated by Portuguese people around the world.

Now, in the summer of 2021, we must continue to address the challenge of the pandemic.

Please stay safe and behave sensibly!

Jurgen H. Racherbaumer