(last updated: 05.06.2019)
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.
Since 1.10.2018, Estonia is represented in Portugal by Ambassador Ruth Lausma Luik. Estonian Embassy in Lisbon was officially opened in August 1998 by Prime Minister Mart Siimann. 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.
The current Portuguese ambassador, Mr António Costa Moura who resides in Helsinki 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.
Portuguese Ambassadors to Estonia since 1993
- 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)
Estonian Ambassadors and Chargés d'Affaires a.i. sinve 1996:
- 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 (2013 - 2018)
|April 2019||President Kersti Kaljulaid on a state visit|
|June 2017||Prime Minister Jüri Ratas|
|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|
|April 2004||Prime Minister Juhan Parts|
|November 2001||Prime Minister Mart Laar|
|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|
Despite of geographical distance Estonia and Portugal have close relations. During the past few years the number of both high-level visits and expert level consultations as well as cultural links between Estonia and Portugal has increased. Estonia and Portugal have effective cooperation concerning the mutual use of premises of diplomatic representations. An Estonian diplomat worked at the Portuguese Embassy in Brasilia during 2013-2014, Portuguese diplomats have had the oppportunity to reside in the Estonian Embassy in Vilnius (first half of 2013), Riga (first half of 2015), and Astana (September 2014 to December 2015).
Defence co-operation is developing as well. As a close NATO-ally Portugal has participated in the Baltic air policing rotation on four occasions (2007, 2014, 2016, 2018) from the Siauliai base in Lithuania. Since spring 2018, Portugal is officially participating in the work of NATO's Cyber Centre of Excellence in Tallinn.
Estonia and Portugal have concluded a bilateral visa representation agreement (2016). According to the agreement, Portuguese diplomatic representations issue visas on behalf of Estonia in Guinea-Bissau, Cabo Verde, São Tomé and Príncipe, Mosambique, and Zimbabwe.
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.
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.
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. Estonia has had a high-level participation at Lisbon's WebSummit during past few years.
Trade between Estonia and Portugal has grown significantly over the past years. While the trade turnover was 19 million euros in 2013, it reached about 36.7 million euros in 2018; the increase includes both exports and imports. In 2018, Portugal was Estonia's 47th biggest trading partner with the share of 0,1% of total trade turnover.
Trade from 2010-2018 (millions EUR):
Estonian exports to Portugal grew in 2018 mainly due to the increase in animal products, machinery and equiment, and wooden products exports. The share of Estonian origin products made up 82% of exports. The major export articles in 2018 were wood and wooden products (37%), animal products (23%), and machinery and equipment (19%). The main import products from Portugal were plastics (18%), machinery and equipment (14%), pulp and paper (10%), and food stuff and beverages (9%).
According to Bank of Estonia, as of 31.12.2018 Portuguese direct investments ranked as – 5.2 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 May 2018, there were 68 Portuguese-owned companies in the Estonian Commercial Register, an increase from 13 in 2015.
At the same time, the total value of Estonia's direct investments in Portugal was 14.2 million euros. Investments were mainly in real estate.
According to data from Bank of Estonia, the number of 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. Most Portuguese tourists only visit Tallinn.
Portugal is gaining more popularity as a summer holiday destination for Estonian tourists. The total number of Estonian visits to Portugal has been around 12 000-14 000 in the past couple of years. In 2018, the number of visits was around 17 000 and the average stay lasted for 6,7 days.
Estonia and Portugal have signed an agreement for co-operation in the fields of language, education, culture, science, technology, youth projects, sports and media (2003). Portuguese language instruction in Estonia takes place in two 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. In 2007, a small Estonian-Portuguese, Portuguese-Estonian dictionary was published.
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 Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland. The Tallinn Music School 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.
Estonian musicians have performed in Portugal in many occasions, both in independent concerts and in the framework of larger events. 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 centennary of the Republic of Estonia in 2018 was celebrated by various cultural events in different places in Portugal. In February, a joint chamber music concert by musicians from Estonian Music Academy and Lisbon's higher music school took place in Lisbon's Thalia theatre. In March, Estonia was the focus country at Monstra animated film festival.
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 November of 2011, a special performance of Sofi Oksanen’s “Purge” took place at the Teatro Alberto in Lisbon. On 16 November the Portuguese-language version of “Purge” was unveiled.
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.
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.
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