Welcome to the Week em Breve! This week in Portugal: “Helpful” Housing, Sócrates Scandal, TV Tech, and much more.
Let’s just get the corruption story of the week out of the way first, shall we? Welcome back to the spotlight, João Vasconcelos! This former Secretary of State for Industry has been charged with “fraud in obtaining a subsidy,” connected to a company at which he was a partner — Go Big or Go Home. The alleged fraud involves €260,000 of government funding being given to a company, Eco Choice, owned by his wife. She and five others have also been charged in connection with the alleged fraud. Maybe they’re all wishing they hadn’t gone quite so big.
But wait, there’s more! BES is once again under scrutiny and is now being investigated for alleged corruption in Venezuela involving €3.5 Billion. Portugal’s cooperation has been requested by investigators in Spain, Venezuela, and the United States for the case regarding embezzlement of Petróleos de Venezuela. Observador has an extensive write up of what has gone down and who is involved.
Speaking of allegedly-corrupt socialist politicians, this week José Sócrates announced that he would be leaving the Socialist Party. The former prime minister made the decision to leave in order to avoid “mutual embarrassment,” as he is currently the primary focus of Operação Marquês. Sócrates claims he has suffered “condemnation without trial,” due in part to the comments of current politicians on historical corruption.
According to Airbnb, the number of tourists in Lisbon is set to be 83% higher during Eurovision compared with the same period last year. This equates to nearly 54,000 visitors during the week, according to the company. Luckily, Airbnb explains how they can accommodate all these people, giving them authentic experiences while pumping money into the pockets of happily-housed city folk! Thanks, guys!
But, don’t be scared that Airbnb is inhabiting all the city homes! There is a new luxury condominium in Saldanha with 77 apartments. These range from T0 to T4 and top out at a cost of €1.49 million, for now. It’s great to see city developers tackling that affordable housing crisis.
This is all a sign of the times, and the housing market looks to be on the up-and-up. There was an increase of 21% in the money made available for mortgages in the first quarter when compared with last year. In March alone, this figure was €866 million, which is the highest it has been since July 2010. This is due to the economic upturn of the country, and banks expect the trend to continue.
As some may have heard, a new airport is planned for Montijo. This is to try to ease the stress on Lisbon airport, which is reportedly at capacity. This week, a private consultancy company concluded that the planned airport’s impact will be of “little significance.” The project will now be evaluated by the Portuguese Environmental Agency. We’ll be keeping an eye on this one.
RTP Play is an on-demand service by Rádio e Televisão de Portugal, and it aims to compete with the likes of Netflix. RTP want to update their services to reach an audience who are now consuming media in a different way. This includes a plan to broadcast live video from their radio stations. I am in no doubt that RTP Play is the next big thing.