Portugal and UK sign wide-ranging cooperation agreement

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Portugal and UK sign wide-ranging cooperation agreement

Portugal and the United Kingdom have signed a bilateral cooperation agreement that is considered to be more far-ranging than Portugal’s relationship with any other member state in the EU.

Portuguese Prime Minister, António Costa, made the announcement after a meeting at 10 Downing Street in London with British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson which lasted around 45 minutes.

The Portuguese Chamber of Commerce in the UK states: “On the 13 of June 2022, the Portuguese Prime Minister, António Costa, and UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, signed a new Joint Declaration on Bilateral Cooperation between Portugal and the UK”.

“The declaration reaffirms the mutual commitment to working closely together after Brexit.

Shared priorities include defence, security, trade, foreign policy, cooperation, investment, R&D, education and British and Portuguese citizens’ rights in both jurisdictions.

The official Joint Declaration was signed in both languages.

António Costa said: “This post-Brexit agreement will be key to relaunching the oldest alliance that exists in the world. It is one of the first that member states have signed and is perhaps the one that covers more topics, from the areas of defence, research, through investment, trade, to technologies, digital transition and renewable energy.”

According to Euractiv and Lusa, Portugal’s prime minister also stressed that he was “separating the waters” between bilateral relations with the UK and the post-Brexit differences between London and Brussels over Northern Ireland, in which he supports the EU.

“We have parted the waters. The negotiation between the EU and the UK is led by the Commission, and we give the Commission our full support. The British government has no doubts about this,” he told reporters.

However, he argued, “within the scope of the agreements and disagreements within the EU, there is room to develop the bilateral relationship”.

The prime minister said Portugal “cannot waste” the old Luso-British alliance.

“We focus on what has to do with bilateral relations, which, regardless of conflicts and convergences between the United Kingdom and the EU, can be established in a bilateral way between Portugal and the United Kingdom”, he stressed.

Portugal and the UK will “deepen cooperation in defence matters by concluding negotiations and signing a new bilateral defence agreement,” the joint Portuguese-British declaration reads in the chapter on security.

Portugal and the UK are also committed to collective defence through the Atlantic Alliance.

“We will work together to strengthen NATO’s long-term defensive posture and to ensure that the Atlantic Alliance has a wide network of partnerships aimed at strengthening security, enabling it to address all Euro-Atlantic security threats”, the joint statement also said.

In policing, Portugal and the UK will cooperate “in specialised areas of serious and organised crime, such as drug trafficking, terrorism and cybercrime.”

The two countries also signed bilateral agreements “on national security and sharing information on immigration, arms, ammunition and explosives, and possible opportunities for cooperation projects in the area of defence.”

On trade, the governments of London and Lisbon want to “share information on trade and investment flows at the bilateral level, as well as on existing barriers”.

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