Portugal engages with the world and wins friends and influence
This is a great year for Portugal in terms of international relationships. From European football leagues to song competitions, Portugal has acquired huge wins to the surprise of many.
More surprising is the country’s progress in obtaining global political posts which prove their diplomatic skills even more than their economic power.
Portuguese diplomat Antònio Guterres became the United Nations’ secretary general in the beginning of the year while Mario Centeno will preside the Eurogroup which is a meeting of finance ministers across Europe.
The mayor of Lisbon, Fernando Medina said in an interview that almost everyone wants to be friends with Portugal. They do not cause harm to anybody and they welcome visitors openly. This is why they have more tourists in the recent years than other countries. He said that being received with open arms is very important during these times.
Their diplomats have employed friendly attitudes to help Portugal become more involved in the world’s top political organizations. They are neither too red or too blue although they were never the first option. Their diplomats have always been second choices. But it is their friendliness that gained them influence.
According to political analyst Jose Manuel Fernandes, though many things don’t work in Portugal, the diplomatic corps does. They have spent a long time doing great work in the Foreign Affairs Ministry. It is clear that there is good balance in the country and how it conducts itself in global affairs.
Centeno who now presides the Eurogroup has not been accused of being too politically correct. He has criticized even his supporters when he saw that something wasn’t right in the International Monetary Fund and other organizations. He reacted strongly against Dutch politician Jeroen Dijsselbloem who said that Portugal has spent bailout money on alcohol and women. Still, Centeno became a leading European figure.
What people like about this diplomat is that he is able to relate to many people across cultures. He speaks to Guindos in their native tongue as well to many other nations. But it’s not just speaking their language that helped him gain their friendship for the country. He has discreet and polite manners and like Portugal’s other diplomats, he is unassuming.
These behaviors among Portuguese global representatives are what helped them win friends and influence across the globe. It is quite clear that the recent times have been historic for Portugal winning allies and it appears that they will continue to do so.