(last updated: 31.07.2018)
Portugal recognised the Republic of Estonia de facto in 1918 and de jure on 6 February 1921. Portugal never recognised the occupation of Estonia by the Soviet Union. As a sign of protest, the right of centre minority government prohibited a parliamentary delegation from visiting Estonia during its visit to the Soviet Union in 1987. On the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia the highest Estonian state decoration, the Collar of the Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana, was given to Portuguese President Aníbal Cavaco Silva, who was a supporter of the non-recognition policy of Estonia’s occupation during his time as prime minister. Portugal re-recognised the Republic of Estonia on 27 August 1991 and diplomatic relations were re-established on 1 October 1991.
Portuguese Ambassadors to Estonia
- Dr. Jorge Alberto Nogueira De Lemos Godinho (1993 - 1996)
- Mr. Manuel Moreira de Andrade (1996 - 2001)
- Mr. Filipe Guterres (2001 - 2004)
- Mr. João Manuel da Cruz da Silva Leitão (2004- 2005)
- Mrs. Ana Paula Baptista Grade Zacarias (2005 –2009)
- Mrs. Maria de Fátima de Pina Perestrello (2009-2016)
The current Portuguese ambassador, Mr António Costa Moura presented his credentials to President Kaljulaid on 12 January 2017.
A Portuguese Embassy was located in Tallinn from 12 September 2006 until 29 February 2012. Now Portugal is once again covering Estonia from its embassy in Helsinki.
Estonian Chargés d'Affaires a.i. and Ambassadors:
- Andres Tomasberg (non-resident ambassador, resided in Paris) (1996 – 1997)
- Meelike Palli (Chargé d'Affaires a.i) (1997–1999)
- Paul Lettens (Chargé d'Affaires a.i) (1999–2002)
- Raul Mälk (non-resident ambassador, resided in London, and from 2001 in Tallinn) (2000 – 2003)
- Märt Piiskop (Chargé d'Affaires a.i) (2002–2003
- Aino Leppik von Wirén (the first Estonian ambassador, to reside in Lisbon) (2003 – 2006)
- Mart Tarmak (2006 – 2010)
- Marin Mõttus (2010 – 2013)
- Andres Rundu (since 30 October 2013)
Prime Minister Mart Siimann, visiting Lisbon in connection with the EXPO world's fair, officially opened the Embassy of Estonia in Lisbon in August 1998.
Estonia has three honorary consuls in Portugal: Mário Nuno dos Santos Ferreira in the city of Porto in northern Portugal, Gonçalo Martins Dias in the city of Tavira in southern Portugal, and Fernando Sérgio Faria de Freitas Catanho in Madeira.
|June 2015||Prime Minister Jüri Ratas|
|May 2015||President of the Riigikogu Eiki Nestor at the II Summit of Speakers of Parliaments of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean|
|September 2014||President Toomas Hendrik Ilves at the Arraiolos Group meeting in Braga|
|June 2014||Foreign Minister Urmas Paet|
|December 2011||President Toomas Hendrik Ilves within the framework of the European Union e-health working group|
|July 2009||President Toomas Hendrik Ilves|
|September 2007||Chairman of the Riigikogu Ene Ergma|
|December 2006||Prime Minister Andrus Ansip|
|November 2005||In a state visit, President Arnold Rüütel met President of the Republic of Portugal, Jorge Sampaio; Chairman of the Assembly, Jaime Gama and Portuguese Prime Minister, Jose Socrates|
|June 2004||Foreign Minister Kristiina Ojuland meeting with Portuguese Foreign Minister Teresa Gouveia and Parliament Speaker João Mota Amaral|
|April 2004||Prime Minister Juhan Parts|
|March 2003||Chairman of the Riigikogu Ene Ergma took part in the Conference on the role of National Parliaments in Lisbon|
|November 2001||Prime Minister Mart Laar|
|May 2000||Foreign Minister Toomas Hendrik Ilves and Minister of Defence Jüri Luik at the meeting of ministers of the WEU in Porto|
|April 2017||Secretary of State for European Affairs Margarida Marques|
|December 2014||Secretary of State for European Affairs Bruno Maçães|
|March 2012||Deputy Foreign Minister and State Secretary for EU Affairs Miguel Morais Leitão|
|March 2009||Foreign Minister Luís Amado|
|December 2007||Prime Minister José Sócrates as the leader of the delegation of EU and Schengen nations for the event celebrating the expansion of the Schengen area in Tallinn|
|September 2006||Deputy Foreign Minister and Secretary of State for European Affairs Manuel Lobo Antunes|
|September 2004||Secretary of State for European Affairs Mário Santos David|
|May 2003||State visit of the President of Portugal Jorge Fernande Branco de Sampaio|
|November 2002||Portuguese Secretary of State for European Affairs Carlos Henrique da Costa Neves|
Estonia and Portugal have excellent relations. During the past few years the number of high-level visits and cultural links between Estonia and Portugal has increased. The year 2009 had historical significance because President Toomas Hendrik Ilves visited Portugal and Portuguese Foreign Minister Luís Amado made his first visit to Estonia. In September of 2014, President Ilves participated in the Arraiolos Group meeting in Braga. Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet visited Portugal in June of 2014. Relations on the working level are quite close. In March of 2010, a memorandum of mutual understanding was signed by the foreign ministries of Estonia and Portugal, in which the two sides agreed to hold bilateral consultations once a year.
In May 2014, an important milestone in bilateral security and defence policy cooperation was the three-day exercise in the field of cyber security held in Lisbon, jointly organised by Estonia, Portugal and the European Defence Agency (EDA). The idea of the exercise was to play through a cyber-crisis situation on the level of strategic decision-makers. The goal was to raise awareness regarding cyber security, cyber-crisis management capacity building, and introducing and deploying new approaches to leadership. The training’s theoretical part was followed by a practical exercise.
Estonia and Portugal have had effective cooperation, where diplomats have been able to use the premises of each other's missions. From April 2013 to June 2014, an Estonian diplomat worked at the Portuguese Embassy in Brasilia, Portuguese diplomats worked at the Estonian Embassy in Vilnius during Lithuania’s Chairmanship of the Council of the European Union in the first half of 2013, at the Estonian Embassy in Riga, Latvia, from December 2014 to June 2015, and at the Estonian Embassy in Astana from September 2014 to December 2015.
Portugal contributed to the air policing of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania with planes from September 2014 until the end of that year and participated in the rotation in summer 2016. Portugal also contributed in the Baltic air policing rotation in 2007.
In the XIII Riigikogu, the Parliament of Estonia, the chairman of the Estonia-Portugal parliamentary group is Aivar Sõerd and the vice-chairman is Igor Gräzin.
Prior to World War II Estonia and Portugal already had a trade agreement. Currently there are seven intergovernmental agreements between Estonia and Portugal:
- Agreement on the Abolishment of Visa Requirements
- Agreement on Co-operation in the Field of Tourism
- Agreement Concerning International Transport of Passengers and Goods by Road
- Co-operation Agreement in the Fields of Language, Education, Culture, Science and Technology, Youth, Sport and Media
- Agreement on the Readmission of Persons
- Convention for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Income Tax Evasion
- Republic of Estonia and the Portuguese Republic Agreement on Mutual Protection of Classified Information
Co-operation memoranda have also been signed between the Estonian and Portuguese defence ministries and foreign ministries.
In 2016 the constant growth of the Portuguese economy continued. It was led by exports, the tourism sector and growth of private consumption. Potential areas of co-operation between Estonia and Portugal are tourism, information and communications technology, and research and development activities, as well as renewable energy production and the food processing industry
Potential areas of co-operation between Estonia and Portugal are tourism, information and communications technology, and research and development activity, as well as renewable energy production or the food processing industry. In May of 2011, a group of Portuguese entrepreneurs founded the Luso-Baltic Chamber of Commerce, the goal of which is to develop economic contacts between the Baltic countries and Portuguese-speaking countries. By September 2011 the board of the chamber was visiting Estonia and finding contacts. During the economic and financial crisis that has plaged Portugal and in subsequent years, its activity was inhibited. The modest economic growth that has begun in Portugal has allowed the Luso-Baltic Chamber of Commerce and Industry to become more active once again. In 2015, the Luso-Baltic Chamber of Commerce managed to get its own separate office space in Northern Portugal in Viseu.
In May of 2012, the Estonian embassy, in cooperation with the Luso-Baltic Chamber of Commerce and AICEP, organized business seminars in Porto and Lisbon where Estonia’s business climate was introduced by Maria Alajõe, a Member of the Board of Enterprise Estonia.
In May of 2013, a delegation of the Information Systems Authority was in Lisbon for a visit. They met with partners at the Portuguese Agency for the Modernization of Public Administration to speak about e-states and opportunities to exchange experiences.
In May of 2014, the Estonian Embassy in Lisbon, in cooperation with the airline TAP Portugal and Enterprise Estonia in Lisbon organised a seminar introducing Estonia as a tourism destination.
In October 2015, the Estonian embassy along with the director general of the Estonian Maritime Administration, Rene Arikas, and its communications director Tarmo Ots, visited the European Maritime Safety Agency located in Lisbon. They met the agency’s director, Markku Mylly and discussed increasing cooperation between the two institutions.
For the past four years, the Estonian embassy has participated in Portugal Exportador, which is an export-oriented fair aimed at establishing contacts with Portuguese investors. It is held annually on November 19.
In November 2015, representative leaders from the three Baltic States made a joint visit to IdD (Portugese Platform for Defence Industries), which unites various Portuguese enterprises related to the defence industry. Representatives from IdD talked about their union’s activities and the Baltic representatives presented the latest developments in their countries’ defence industries. As part of the meeting, a cooperation agreement between the Luso-Baltic Chamber of Commerce and IdD was signed
In 2012, Portugal was Estonia's 49th trade partner, 50th in 2013, 44th in 2014 and 49th in 2017.
Trade between Estonia and Portugal has more than doubled in the last seven years. In 2010, trade turnover was 12.7 million euros, and in 2017 it was 29.2 million euros; the increase includes both exports and imports.
Trade from 2010-2017 (millions EUR):
The importance of timber and wood products among export items has grown continuously; in 2015 it made up 43% of total exports, in 2016 over 50%.
Among products imported from Portugal to Estonia the importance of ready-made foods, including alcoholic drinks, has decreased, however, import of textile products and cork has risen.Trade between Estonia and Portugal has grown in the last five years. In 2010, trade turnover was 12.7 million euros, and in 2015 it was 22.5 million euros (0.1% of Estonia's total turnover); the increase includes both exports and imports.
Main export articles in 2015:
- Wood and wooden products – 45%
- Machinery and equipment – 15.5%
- Paper pulp and paper products - 9.2%
- Metals and metal products – 7.8%
Main import articles in 2015:
- Metals and metal products – 22%
- Textiles and textile products – 13.2%
- Plastics – 12.4%
- Paper pulp and paper products – 9.8%
According to Bank of Estonia data, as of 31.12.2017 Portuguese direct investments ranked as – (minus) 3.2 million euros in Estonia. Investments had been made in many different sectors: manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, transport and storage sector, information and communications sector, financial and insurance activities, real estate, professional, scientific and technical activities.
As of April 2016, there were 33 Portuguese-owned companies.in the Estonian Commercial Register, a great increase from 13 in 2015.
At the same time, the total value of Estonia's direct investments in Portugal was 7.8 million euros. Investments were mainly in real estate.
The number of tourists from Portugal visiting Estonia has grown from year to year and Portugal is also becoming more popular as a destination for Estonians.
According to data from Bank of Estonia, the number of visits from Portugese tourists has been on the rise. In 2017, a total of 11 630 visits were done from Portugal to Estonia. The average visit was 3 days long. Like most other Southern European tourists, the Portuguese usually visit Estonia in the summertime as part of a tour that visits several neighbouring countries alongside Estonia. Most Portuguese tourists only visit Tallinn.
Portugal is gaining more popularity as a summer holiday destination for Estonian tourists. However, it still has much more unrealised potential as a spa or tour destination for Estonians considering its reasonable prices, interesting sights, and friendly citizens that are able to speak English. During the past few years the number of tourists has been positively affected by charter trips that are organised in the summertime from Tallinn to Algarve in southern Portugal, since 2016 spring and autumn charter flights between Tallinn and Madeira are in operation again. Estonian tourists are also interested in the so-called capital of Northern Portugal, Porto. The total number of Estonian visits to Portugal has been around 12 000-14 000 in the past couple of years. In 2017, the number of visits totalled at 14 057 and the average stay lasted for 6 days.
On 12 May 2003, Estonia and Portugal signed an agreement for co-operation in the fields of language, education, culture, science, technology, youth projects, sports and media. It took effect on 15 December 2005.
Portuguese language instruction takes place in Estonia and there are two Portuguese language centres—one at Tartu University and the other at Tallinn University. This is thanks to a co-operation agreement signed between Camões Institute and Tallinn and Tartu Universities in 2006. According to the agreement, the Camões Institute will cover all expenses for teachers and materials, and each of the Estonian universities will receive one scholarship to send a student to Portugal to learn the language.
At Tallinn University, Portuguese is taught at the Tallinn University Language Centre, the teacher is Ana Sofia Magalhães, who was sent to Estonia on behalf of the Camões Institute. In Tartu, classes in Portuguese for beginners are taught by Lotta Leesmaa, there have been no native Portuguese teachers since Bruno Marques and Bernardo Marques left in 2013. The Portuguese government is planning a lavish programme to expand the teaching of Portuguese via Camões Institute, which will hopefully include sending a native teacher from Portugal to Tartu as well.
In 2015-2017 a master’s programme between three universities, titled “Kino Eyes – The European Movie Master” was established. The participating schools are Lusofona University in Lisbon, Baltic Film and Media School in Estonia, and Edinburg Napier University in Scotland.
The Tallinn Music School named after Georg Ots and the Funchal Music School have started an exchance program for teachers and students. Many Estonian vocational universities (mainly ones with tourism-related programmes) have begun teacher and student exchanges with Portuguese schools.
Among Estonian Erasmus students, Portugal is extremely popular, more and more students choose it as their destination every year.
Many art exhibits have taken place.
In September 2007 an exhibit of Jüri Arrak’s paintings in the monastery Convento des Cardaes took place, and that same year an exhibit of Tanel Veenre’s jewellery was displayed at the Funchal City Theatre on the island of Madeira. In 2008 an exhibition of Valli Lember-Bogatkina’s watercolours was seen in the Lisbon Water Museum and in 2009 the joint exhibit of six Estonian artists “Moss and Lichen” was exhibited in Coimbra. In 2010 events included Markus Kasemaa’s personal exhibit “Figures” in the Azores, an exhibit of paintings by Imat Suuman entitled “Estonian Landscape” in Lisbon, and an exhibit of the works of Estonian glass artists Tiina and Maret Sarapuu also in Lisbon. In January of 2011, the exhibit “Tallinn: Colours, Textures, Emotions” was opened, and in June an exhibit of Markus Kasemaa’s digital prints on canvas was opened at the Camões Institute in Lisbon. The jewellery art project “Border City” was realised in Tallinn, when the works of 17 Estonian and 17 Portuguese artists were displayed in the Tallinn City Gallery. At the beginning of 2012, the “Border City” project continued in Lisbon when the exhibit was opened on 16 February 2012 in the Camões Institute. In November of 2012, the joint Portuguese-Polish-Estonian performance art project “Cosmic Underground” took place, where Estonia was represented by Raoul Kurwitz and Flo Kasearu. In May of 2013, Estonian Ambassador Marin Mõttus opened the exhibit “Estonia as a Maritime Country: Estonian Lighthouses” in Ponta Delgada in the Azores. The easternmost lighthouse in the EU is located in Narva-Jõesuu in Estonia and the westernmost is the Albernaz lighthouse in the Azores.
In 2014, during the international textile biennale Contectile in Guimarães, an exhibition with the works of 10 Estonian modern textile artists was held. Estonian artists participated in the international graphics biennale in Douro county, called DOURO 2014. Raoul Kurvitz presented his personal exhibition “The Chapel” in Lisbon as part of the exhibition series Projecto Vicente.
In March 2015, the leather art department of the Estonian Academy of Arts presented an exhibition of student works in the University of Porto, titled “SIMPLY BOOKS”. It was part of the programme “PURE PRINT ELEMENTS” and included a thematic workshop for students of the graphics department that was conducted by Lennart Mänd, professor at the Department of Leather Art.
In 2015, Katja Novitskova’s exhibition “LIFE UPDATE” was shown at the Kunsthalle in Lisbon. In April, jewellery artists Kadri Mälk and Tanel Veenre presented their books “Õhuloss. Castle in the air. Jewellery from Estonia” and “Käeulatuses / Handful. Jewellery Diary 2009–2015” in the library of Sociedade Nacional de Belas Artes. “ÕHULOSS”, a group of Estonian jewellery artists, had their works displayed from April until May in Reverso Gallery. Two photo exhibitions were displayed as well in 2015 – in the library of Setúbal, one titled “DISCOVERING ESTONIA. From the silence of the woods to the magic of songs” and in LX Factory in Lisbon, a show by the Estonian Fashion Artist Association, curated by Anu Hint and called “TO BE AN ESTONIAN”.
In February 2016, as the Estonian honorary consulate in Funchal, Madeira was opened, a photo exhibition about Estonia, “Discovering Estonia”, was shown in the city theatre. Nine years earlier, Tanel Veenre’s jewellery had been displayed at the same location.
Estonian musicians have also presented their talents in Portugal, both in independent concerts and in the framework of larger events. In 2007, Hedvig Hanson and Andre Maaker gave 2 concerts (in Lisbon and Abrantes) and the Estonian Defence Forces Mixed Choir performed in Lisbon. In 2008, a concert by the ETV Girls’ Choir took place in the main hall of Lisbon University to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia. The Helin-Mari Arder Trio gave concerts in Lisbon and Tavira in 2009, and the folk music duo RO:TORO gave a concert in Fundão in 2010. Concerts by the Arsis Handbell Ensemble in Guimarães (European Capital of Culture 2012) and Lisbon in February of 2011 were very successful.
In April 2012 the Estonian vocal ensemble -7 (Minus Seven) performed at the Palacio Foz concert hall in the heart of Lisbon. The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir gave three concerts in Lisbon during a festival at the Belem Cultural Centre called “A voz humana – o canto atraves dos tempos”. On 19 May the choir also performed in the church of Villa de Fradese in southern Portugal within the framework of the Alentejo religious music festival. In October 2012 the dance ensemble “Kuljus” performed at Santarem’s folk dance festival and in March 2013, Mari Kalkun gave two performances in Lisbon – one at the Palacio Fozi and another at the Fabricia Braco de Prata cultural centre.
On December 31 2016, Arvo Pärt’s Te Deum was performed by the Gulbenkian Foundation symphony orchestra and choir in São Roque cathedral, Lisbon. The singers were soprano Eduarda Melo, coloratura soprano Carolina Figueiredo, tenor Marco Alves dos Santos and baritone Tiago matos.
In July 2015, 7-year-old singer Triinu Johanna Sepp from Suure-Jaani, Estonia, performed at the 27th Little Singer’s Gala in Figueira da Foz. She sang the song “Flöödina helisev viis” (composer Erki Sepp, lyricist Kaari Sillamaa) and won the show in the category of foreign performers.
At the Estorili international film festival held in November 2007, Veiko Õunpuu’s film “Sügisball” (“Autumn Ball”) won the jury’s special award. The formal premier of “Autumn Ball” in Portugal took place in July 2008. The film remained in the theatre for six weeks. During the Estoril film festival in November 2008, entitled “Temps d’Images”, Kersti Uibo’s documentary “Vaikelu naisega” (“Still Life with Wife”) was recognised.
In March 2014, “Villa Antropoff”, a film by Kaspar Jancis and Vladimir Leschiov, won the jury’s special prize at the animation film festival MONSTRA in Lisbon. In November, Estonian animations took part in the festival CINANIMA, an Estonian film director, Rao Heidmets, was in the jury. The programme of the festival included Heidmets’s retrospective and his master class workshop in the hall of the Espinho Library.
In March 2015, “Lisa Limone and Maroc Orange: a rapid love story”, a film by Mait Laas, and Ülo Pikkov’s film “Tick-tack” received diplomas at the festival MONSTRA. In June, the Estonian-Georgian film “Tangerines” premiered in Lisbon. Riho Unt’s doll animation film “Master” won the main prize at the 39. CINANIMA festival in Espinho and an honourable mention at the MONSTRA festival in March 2016. In the same year, Estonian animator Mait Laas was a jury member at MONSTRA.
LITERATURE AND LANGUAGE
The only works of Estonian literature translated into Portuguese to date are "The Czar’s Madman" by Jaan Kross, of which two editions have been published (1992 and 1993), and Eduard Vilde’s "The Milkman of Mäeküla" (2004).
From Portuguese literature, "The Relic" by Eça de Queiroz and "Autopsychography" by Fernando Pessoa have been translated into Estonian by Ain Kaalep, along with "Sunday Afternoon" by Fernando Namora and the set of short stories "The Sword of Tupariz" by Vitorio Kali. In 2007 José Saramago’s “Darkness” was published (translated into Estonian by Mare Vega Salamanca). In 2010 Fernando Pessoa’s selection of poems “Tobacco Shop” was published in Estonia, translated by Tõnu Õnnepalu.
In 2007, the publisher TEA published a small Estonian-Portuguese, Portuguese-Estonian dictionary. In 2011, the Estonian-language translation by Leenu Nigu of Angolan writer José Eduardo Agualusa’s novel “O Vendedor de Passados” (Estonian: “Minevikkude müüja”), originally written in Portuguese, was published.
In November of 2011, a special performance of Sofi Oksanen’s “Purge” took place at the Teatro Alberto in Lisbon. The show was preceded by a reception hosted by the Estonian and Finnish embassies, which was attended by Oksanen, and a roundtable on the themes in the work. On 16 November the Portuguese-language version of “Purge” was unveiled.
On May of 2012, a Kristina Ehin poetry night took place in the evangelical Presbyterian church in Lisbon (the poems were translated by Eva Toulouse, who is of French, Italian and Portuguese descent, and the Portuguese-language poems were read aloud by actor Joao d’Avila). On 23 May a night of Kristiina Ehin’s poetry and Silver Sepp’s original musical instruments called “Through Thousands of Falls and Winters” took place at the Fernando Pessoa House Museum in Lisbon.
In December 2002, the culturally oriented Lisbon Estonian Society was established.
In the summer of 2004, a friendship and co-operation development agreement was signed between Haapsalu and the central Portuguese city of Fundão (population 10 000), which despite its ancient appearance gained city status only in 1988. On 7 May 2005, Mayor of Haapsalu Teet Kallasvee and Mayor of Fundão Manuel Joaquin Frexes unveiled the new Haapsalu Street in Fundão. It is in the more modern part of town and curves around the new courthouse.
In October 2007, an Estonian gastronomic week took place at the Lisbon Sheraton, during which Estonian dishes were prepared by master chefs Tõnis Siigur and Raul Tee.
In December 2008, the Estonian Embassy in Lisbon introduced Estonian Christmas traditions during the Christmas event “O Natal na Europa”. Within the framework of the event, two concert were given by folk music duo RO:TORO.
Over the past few years the nationwide garbage cleanup initiative “Limpar Portugal”, or “Clean up Portugal”, has taken place. The campaign has earned widespread media coverage, and a lot of attention is given to the fact that the idea for the initiative originated in Estonia.
In May 2012, Kaia Kanepi triumphed at the Estoril Open tennis tournament.
On 8 June 2016 the Portugal-Estonia friendly match in football will take place in Lisbon at the Estádio da Luz. Estonia and Portugal have faced each other seven times, including six times in the European Championship qualification round. The last time they played was in 2009, at the A. Le Coq Arena, when Mart Poom's farewell match ended in a 0:0 draw.
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