November 8, 2018 by Eden Flaherty
The Week em Breve – November 8
Welcome to the Week em Breve! This week in Portugal: Recycling Failures, Border Bounties, Buying Beato, Sugar Tax, Need for Immigration, the Rent Percent, and much more!
What’s an innovation hub, you ask? Who knows. But, Lisbon city council is pretty excited at the prospect, with a plan to invest €20 million in Beato to create one. They previously bought part of an old military establishment in the area, which is now Beato Creative Hub, but want to expand this by purchasing the northern section of the complex. The council is planning on developing it into an area for startups, companies, and services. Lucky, the city seems to be running dangerously low on co-working spaces.
Recycle Less, Waste More!
You may have noticed more recycling stations popping up around Lisbon over the past few months. Unfortunately, there seems to be little point, with an annual report by the Portuguese Environmental Agency finding that there has been an increase of 2% in garbage produced in 2017. More worryingly, there has been a reduction in the amount recycled, and with targets just two years away, Portugal is unlikely to meet them without a serious change.
Butane Border Bounties
We often complain of the service prices here, and now it seems Portuguese citizens are going to Spain to buy gas canisters. Just across the border, they are nearly half the price of Portugal, where a 13kg bottle costs an average of €26. The same holds true for gasoline and diesel, which border residents also get in Spain. Of course, this isn’t really practical for Lisboetas. Yet.
Portugal Needs Immigrants
In a time where immigration is a divisive global issue, the coordinator of the Emigration Observatory says that Portugal desperately needs immigrants to solve labor issues and should start recruitment drives abroad. There is a need for specialized workers, and while the return of Portuguese emigrants will help, there’s still a need for immigrants as well.
Coca-Cola and the Sugar Tax
We have often spoken of the controversial sugar tax, and it looks like it has given Coca-Cola the jitters. The company has approached the government asking them to tax currently-exempt drinks such as juices and chocolate milk. This would, according to Coca-Cola, bring in far more revenue and allow for the lowering of the tax on soft drinks with less sugar — Coca-Cola’s Zero range, for example.
How Much Do You Spend on Rent?
Recent Eurostat data shows that despite rent increases, the Portuguese only spend an average of 21.1% of their income on housing. This figure, from 2017, is lower than the European average of 23.8% and a reduction when compared with 2016 and Portugal’s peak of 23.1% in 2015. This could, of course, have changed radically in the last year.
No Strikes This Week
If you are a metro-commuter, you may have noticed that there was no massive delays and closures this week. That is because the strikes that were planned for Nov. 6 and 8 were canceled following a meeting of the board of Directors of Fectrans and a separate workers meeting. While the proposal didn’t meet all the goals laid out before the planned strike, it was agreed upon by the union and includes a statement that there will be “social calm” in the upcoming months — i.e., no more strikes.
The Web Summit
This has been hard to miss with social media flooded, the news crawling with stories of startups, and the city itself infested with tag-wearing techies. To kick it off, Publico revealed just how much it was to be a part of it, with stalls for businesses running from €29,000 for two meters squared, up to €330,000 for this four-day event. This isn’t including all the little extras such as paid social media posts, after-hour dinners, and access to journalists. We won’t know the true impact on the city for some time, but the more than 70,000 attendees were certainly felt on the streets as they surged through different parts of Lisbon each night.
Think we missed an important story? Let us know in the comments!