Welcome to the Week em Breve! This Week’s News in Portugal: Pot Policies, Mal Meat, Scooters Coming to a Stop, Disabled Work Quotas, Higher Wages, Families in Shacks, and much more!
Pot Portuguesa Yet to Hit the Market
The bill that approved the cultivation, manufacture, and trade of cannabis for medical purposes passed into law this week. However, that doesn’t mean we’ll see pot-shops opening on every corner, with Infarmed, which will be responsible for regulation, saying they are yet to receive any requests to take a product to market.
Iffy Bife In the City
Marijuana isn’t the only thing that could be shaking up Portuguese public health: Portugal was revealed as one of nine countries to receive meat from a Polish slaughterhouse that was caught using sick or injured animals. There have been 99 kilos of the so-called diseased beef found in the country, which will now be destroyed. Other countries where the tainted meat appeared were Estonia, France, Hungary, Spain, Sweden, Finland, Lithuania, and Romania.
Further Delays to Arroios Station
Our commiserations to all residents of Arroios and the surrounding area: Metro de Lisboa now expects the subway station to be completed by late 2020 or early 2021, rather than this quarter. This is due to delays with the previous contractor, which eventually led to the contract being rescinded earlier this year. The public competition for the new contract will be launched soon, so if you’re in the metro-building businesses, hit them up.
Shared Scooters Stopped Short By City Council
In other transport news, Câmara de Lisboa has given the companies that operate shared electric scooters in the city until the end of the month to create a dedicated parking system. A mechanism will have to be put in place that forces users to place the scooters in specific end-locations in an attempt to reduce the chaos that has been seen on Lisbon’s sidewalks since their introduction. These spots can already be identified by large stickers and will also include existing bike parking. Both individual users and the companies could face fines if the scooter-strewing trend continues.
New Quotas for Disabled Workers
As of Feb. 1, medium and large companies will have to fulfill quotas for disabled workers — requiring 1% and 2% respectively. This new law, which also applies to public companies, aims to correct a worrying trend in Portugal of the disabled being severely underemployed. There is a transition period, and any companies that become medium or large — that is, if they employ more than 75 workers — during this period will be granted an additional two years to comply. Only those companies that can prove a disability would preclude work are exempt.
Average Wage is Up, Unemployment is Down
More good news for Portuguese employees! The average wage rose faster last year than in the six years that preceded it — by 3.74%, according to Statistics Portugal — bringing it to €888. Furthermore, the unemployment rate dropped as well as the number of people in employment brackets below €600, according to the national statistics.
1,800 Lisbon Families Live in Shacks
On the other hand, there are still a reported 1,800 families living in shacks, spread across 13 slums, in the Greater Lisbon area. While more than half of those in need of new homes are based in Lisbon and Porto, there are many more across the country, and a 2018 study found that there were, in fact, a total of 12,000 families living in “shacks or substandard construction” in Portugal.
Just Another Portuguese Pipe Dream
In a blow to Portuguese power plans, France and Spain have decided that a gas pipeline across the Pyrenees is not in their best interest. This shuts down Portugal’s proposal to build a connecting pipeline, which would have allowed them to export gas to Europe. This also quells prime minister António Costa’s plan to rival Russia by importing U.S. liquefied gas through Sines.
Think we missed an important story? Let us know in the comments!