9th Portugal-Brazil Summit on language and telecommunications

27 October 2008

Salvador da Bahia, Brazil, 27 Oct – Portugal and Brazil will meet this week at the highest level and it is hoped that the 9th bilateral Summit will promote the Portuguese language and the “voice” of the Portuguese-speaking world on global issues, as well as make progress on the ambitious “mega-telecom” Atlantic project.

The meeting will take place just two weeks after the Portuguese prime minister, José Sócrates, said he was hoping that the “strategic” relationship between the two countries in the telecom sector has a “business interpretation.”

“The relationship with Brazil in the telecom sector is a strategic stance on the part of Portugal and we hope that this alliance will result in a business interpretation of the Portuguese-speaking world.

Sócrates was speaking at the 13th meeting of the Brazil Business Leaders Group (Lide), which took place for the first time on foreign soil, in Lisbon, to Brazil’s Telecom Minister and some of Brazil’s best-known managers in the sector.

At the same meeting, Brazil’s Telecom Minister, Helio Costa, told the Diário Económico newspaper that the entry of Portuguese stakeholders in the huge Brazilian operator to be created from the merger of Brasil Telecom (BrT) and Oi, would be “welcome.”

Costa emphasised, however, that the majority of the operator’s capital would always be Brazilian.

Recently, the Brazilian telecom regulatory body (Anatel) has approved changes to legislation which allow the BrT-Oi merger, considered to be the project’s starting point by sector analysts.Portugal Telecom currently has a stake in the biggest Brazilian mobile communications operator, Vivo, in partnership with Spanish group, Telefónica.

The project was named “the big telecom operator” in the Portuguese-speaking world by the press because one of its main driving forces during the initial phase, Henrique Granadeiro, then PT’s CEO and now it’s chairman, also wanted to include counterparts from Portuguese speaking African countries.

Talks on telecommunications are not on the Salvador Summit’s official agenda, but it is hoped that the subject will be broached by the two ministers in the sector, and will even be the subject of a new declaration of political support.

To commemorate its first decade in Brazil, PT will use the occasion to inaugurate PT Inovação’s new research and development centre for software in the Summit’s host city. The project involves the Bahia State government and Bahia’s Universidade Federal.

According to Brasilia, the bilateral work meeting aims to “strengthen economic and commercial relations between Brazil and Portugal.”

On a recent visit to the Brazilian capital to prepare for the Summit, the Portuguese Foreign Affairs minister, Luis Amado, chose the affirmation of the Portuguese language in the international context, as the central theme for the meeting.

The two countries have been trying to join forces to make Portuguese a standard language on the international circuit, namely leading to its adoption as a working language at the United Nations and regional organizations.

Another ambition of the Community of Portuguese-speaking Countries (CPLP) is to achieve greater synergy between the two countries on political, diplomatic and strategic levels, giving substance to the “voice” of Portuguese-speaking countries on the international scene. (macauhub)