Portugal’s prime minister Tells Unemployed to Emigrate


I was shocked when I read this headline, and thought that it was from some conspiratorial (un-named) financial website. But it is actually true, Portugal’s PM suggested that the unemployed leave the country! If that is not a bad sign for the Euro-Zone, I do not know what is…

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Lisbon, Portugal – Hounded by the economic crisis that shows no signs of letting up and by political leaders of all stripes, Portugal’s conservative Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho sent out an unprecedented message to his fellow citizens: Emigrate.

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A wave of indignation was triggered when Passos Coelho, in the face of the growing unemployment that is hitting young people and educators extremely hard, suggested to teachers on December 18 that as an alternative they could move to Portuguese-speaking countries like Brazil or Angola.

The next day, several ministers applauded the prime minister’s remarks, saying his suggestion was a valid solution, especially for teachers.

But the governments of Angola and Brazil quickly responded, saying they had no immediate need for teachers.

Surveys indicate that young people between the ages of 25 and 34 are the most interested in moving abroad.

Joao Peixoto, a researcher at the School of Economics and Management (ISEG), told the Publico newspaper that in order to emigrate, “it’s not enough for things to be bad here; it’s also necessary for us to have a place to go”.

The decision to leave one’s country “is not easy, it’s painful and difficult, and people don’t emigrate just because some political leader says they should,” said Peixoto, who described Passos Coelho’s remarks as “odd for a prime minister to make”.

Ana Maria Gomes, a member of the European Parliament, said that when she heard what he said, “I felt furious, because that is the last thing a prime minister should say.”

“Worse than feeling impotent is giving up, because no matter how complicated things are, we can and must pull out of this, because we have qualified young people, the result of the investment in education made over the last few decades,” said Gomes, one of the most prominent leaders of the so-called left wing of the Socialist Party.

Full article here-http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2011/12/20111230137979968.html

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  1. Hi Jacob,

    I had to comment on this one :))

    2012 is going to be really hard in Portugal. Wages are projected to come down with some monthly cuts becoming efective and unemployment is going to go up to new records. But at the same time, structural measures are being taken to reinforce economic conditions. Labor costs are more competitive, job market is becoming more flexible, and exports are the becoming the economy’s motor.

    Government is complying with deficits and debt targets established in the assistance agreement and growth is expected to come in 2013. Years of misgovernment are being corrected and I believe that other european countries should do the same and establish balanced budget policies.

    A great 2012 for you and Value Walk!
    All best,

  2. Dear Jacob,

    why is this such a bad sign ? Couldn’t it be acutally be a good sign i fpeople can move freely within the EU to areas where more jobs are available ?

    Year ago, the argument went that especially the mobilityof the workforce was a big advantage of the US vs. “old Europe”.


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