Portugal

 

Following its heyday as a world power during the 15th and 16th centuries, Portugal lost much of its wealth and status with the destruction of Lisbon in a 1755 earthquake, occupation during the Napoleonic Wars, and the independence in 1822 of Brazil as a colony. A 1910 revolution deposed the monarchy; for most of the next six decades, repressive governments ran the country. In 1974, a left-wing military coup installed broad democratic reforms. The following year, Portugal granted independence to all of its African colonies. Portugal is a founding member of NATO and entered the EC (now the EU) in 1986.

 

Geography:
Location: South-western Europe, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, west of Spain
Geographic coordinates: 39 30 N, 8 00 W
People:
Population: 10,781,459 (July 2012 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 16.2% (male 910,012/female 835,025)

15-64 years: 65.8% (male 3,539,457/female 3,541,989)

65 years and over: 18% (male 791,950/female 1,141,872) (2011 est.)

Government:
Country name: conventional long form: Portuguese Republic

conventional short form: Portugal

local long form: Republica Portuguesa

local short form: Portugal

Government type: republic; parliamentary democracy
Communications:
Telephones – main lines in use: 4.485 million (2009)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 15.195 million (2009)
Transportation:
Airports: 65 (2012)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 43

over 3,047 m: 5

2,438 to 3,047 m: 7

1,524 to 2,437 m: 8

914 to 1,523 m: 13

under 914 m: 10 (2012)

Military:
Military branches: Portuguese Army (Exercito Portugues), Portuguese Navy (Marinha Portuguesa; includes Marine Corps), Portuguese Air Force (Forca Aerea Portuguesa, FAP) (2010)
Military service age and obligation: 18 years of age for voluntary military service; no compulsory military service; women serve in the armed forces, on naval ships since 1993, but are prohibited from serving in some combatant specialties; reserve obligation to age 35 (2010)

Economy:

Portugal has become a diversified and increasingly service-based economy since joining the European Community in 1986. Over the past two decades, successive governments have privatized many state-controlled firms and liberalized key areas of the economy, including the financial and telecommunications sectors. The country qualified for the European Monetary Union (EMU) in 1998 and began circulating the euro on 1 January 2002 along with 11 other EU member economies. Economic growth had been above the EU average for much of the 1990s, but fell back in 2001-07.

 

GDP per capita stands at roughly two-thirds of the EU-27 average. A poor educational system, in particular, has been an obstacle to greater productivity and growth. Portugal has been increasingly overshadowed by lower-cost producers in Central Europe and Asia as a target for foreign direct investment. The budget deficit surged to an all-time high of 6% of GDP in 2005, but the government reduced the deficit to 2.6% in 2007 – a year ahead of Portugal’s targeted schedule. Nonetheless, the government faces tough choices in its attempts to boost Portugal’s economic competitiveness while keeping the budget deficit within the eurozone’s 3%-of-GDP ceiling.

Transnational Issues:

Disputes – international: Portugal does not recognize Spanish sovereignty over the territory of Olivenza based on a difference of interpretation of the 1815 Congress of Vienna and the 1801 Treaty of Badajoz
Illicit drugs: seizing record amounts of Latin American cocaine destined for Europe; a European gateway for Southwest Asian heroin; transhipment point for hashish from North Africa to Europe; consumer of Southwest Asian heroin