By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 17 May 2014:
As Portugal exists it financial bailout this weekend, Portuguese ambassador to Tripoli, Isabel Brilhante Pedrosa said . . .[restrict]her country was keen to improve relations with Libya.
The ambassador was speaking Wednesday at a lunch gathering of Libyan media organized to promote the 5+5 Lisbon Political and Economic summit of 21-22 May.
She was also speaking to highlight Portugal’s participation in the Libya Build 2014 exhibition starting Monday 19 to 22 May.
Pedrosa admitted that Libya was going through “A challenging period, but we are confident and stand ready to work with the Libya authorities, within the efforts of the international community, to help Libya achieve a successful transition and using our experience of regional integration”.
“We stand ready to share our experiences of 48 years of dictatorship. We too had to create a new constitution and voted for a drafting assembly for a constitution. Therefore, we are ready to share our experiences”, she stressed.
Asked about the limited relationships and trade between the two countries, Pedrosa stressed: “We are committed to increasing Portuguese presence in Libya. It must be kept in mind that the Portuguese embassy was only opened in Tripoli in 2007, so our relationship with Libya is not as strong as others. Our efforts in the last two years is to put Libya on the map in Portugal, and Portugal on the map in Libya”.
“Historically, when Libyans used to think of business, they did not think of Portugal”, she admitted. Portuguese exports to Libya were only Euro 50 m in 2013, a 114 percent increase on 2012, she reveals.”Therefore”, she continued, “in the last two years we have been showing that there are a lot of opportunities in Portugal”.
Taking advantage of the Libyan love of football, Pedrosa said that “Many Libyans like (Real Madrid’s and Portuguese international footballer) Christiano Ronaldo, so we have been showing Libyans that we have other Christiano Ronaldos in other areas”, she stressed.
Meanwhile, looking forward to Monday’s 19th May opening of the Libya Build 2014 exhibition, the Portuguese ambassador said that “Portugal will have a small stand representing 7 registered companies, similar to last year, as well as other companies participating independently”.
Pedrosa pointed out the Aman Bank Espirito Santos partnership and the contract awarded to Ferreira Build Power to build lecture halls in Tripoli University as well as the recently formed Portuguese-Libyan Business Association, are all a good sign of already improving business relations.
She also revealed an agreement with the Ministry of Labour to send 300 students to study for masters degrees, of which 142 had already arrived in Portugal.
The ambassador also reveals that wok is continuing on establishing direct flights between Tripoli and Lisbon.
The Portuguese ambassador was also keen to highlight the “Golden visa” where if an applicant meets certain conditions they can obtain a Portuguese residence which includes travel within the Schengen area.
These conditions include: the transfer of a minimum of Euro 1 million to a Portuguese bank; the creation of 10 jobs in Portugal in an existing establishment or by creating a new company; and the acquisition of real estate valued at Euro 500,000 which must not be sold for five years.
Upon fulfilling all the criteria, the applicant would be granted a temporary 5 year residence which becomes permanent in the sixth year. Meanwhile the owner of the property can rent the real estate and need only spend 7 days a year in Portugal. They would not be liable to taxes during this period if they do not take up full residence in Portugal.
After six years the permanent resident can apply for Portuguese citizenship. This citizenship is extendable to all the members of the family of the Portuguese citizen. This allows full access to free education and free healthcare. [/restrict]