Suit up for football games or get fired
If there is one thing that is true about the Portuguese it’s that they care deeply about football. So it is no surprise that, for a country of 10 million people, there are three daily newspapers solely devoted to football and other sports. Nothing captures the attention of the Portuguese people like a football scandal. In June, at the end of last season, the manager of S.L. Benfica, Portugal’s biggest football club, Jorge Jesus, switched to the club’s greatest rivals, Sporting
(erroneously known outside Portugal as Sporting Lisbon). As a consequence, Marco Silva, Sporting’s manager, had to leave to clear the way for Jorge Jesus.
What was unusual about this was that Sporting tried to fire Marco Silva with just cause. Some of the reasons included not attending a meeting and, for the glee of the media, humourists and rival fans around the country, not being dressed up in the club suit at a certain cup game.
Controversial Governor of Bank of Portugal set to begin new 5-year term
The Bank of Portugal (BoP), the country’s independent central bank, has been the subject of controversy over the last few years. The head of the Bank, Governor Carlos Costa, has been the main target of criticism. The collapse of Banco Espírito Santo (BES) and the alleged delays by the BoP on taking decisive action
have made the governor’s position tenuous.
Therefore, it was a great surprise that the government of Social Democrats (PSD) and Christian Democrats (CDS-PP) nominated Carlos Costa for a new 5-year term. The controversy heated up after the governor’s parliamentary hearing on the 12th of June as he refused to disclose the full BoP’s internal inquiry on its own actions regarding the collapse of BES. This refusal coincided with the Costa’s written statements on the lack of powers of the parliamentary commission to actually supervise him incensed opposition Members of Parliament. However, the government is set to confirm his nomination.
Portuguese airline TAP sold to Brazilian Azul
The Portuguese flag carrier airline TAP Portugal has had a difficult recent history, with losses mounting and total debt spiralling out of control. Ever since the 1990’s, successive Portuguese governments have tried unsuccessfully to privatise the public company due to widespread labour and public opposition and a lack in investors.
The sale of 61 percent of the company to Gateway, a consortium consisting of Humberto Pedrosa, owner of the Portuguese transport company Barraqueiro, and David Neeleman, Brazilian-American owner of Azul, a Brazilian airline, was signed on the 24th of June, after a very quick process that caused a 10-day strike by TAP pilots. The process will still have to be approved by European regulatory authorities. The possibility has been raised that, after the upcoming parliamentary elections, the deal may be cancelled, with the corresponding compensation being paid, if the opposition Socialist Party (PS) wins.