Portugal Basic Information

By | July 21, 2022

Basic information about the territory

Portugal Basic Information


  • System of governance and political tendencies in the country
  • Foreign policy of the country
  • Population

The system of governance and political tendencies in the country

The official name of the country is the Republic of Portugal (República Portuguesa). The president has been Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa since March 9, 2016, who began his second five-year term as head of state in March 2021. Check computerminus to learn more about Portugal political system.

The unicameral legislature is the Assembly of the Republic, which consists of 230 deputies who are elected for 4 years.

Based on the victory of the center-left Socialist Party (PS), which managed to win an absolute majority of deputies in early parliamentary elections in January 2022, António Costa, who has led a coalition or minority monochromatic cabinet twice since 2015, remained as Prime Minister. The largest opposition party in Portuguese conditions is the center-right Social Democratic Party (PSD). PS and PSD alternate in power in regular cycles, in some cases with the formal or unwritten support of other smaller parliamentary parties.

The Portuguese domestic political scene is characterized by a high level of stability and culture, which, among other things, has had a very positive effect in the fight against the covid-19 disease pandemic.

Composition of the government (status reflecting the election result when the new government is appointed on 30/03/2022):

Prime Minister – António Costa
Minister of the Government Office – Mariana Vieira da Silva
Minister of Foreign Affairs – João Gomes Cravinho
Minister of National Defense – Helena Carreiras
Minister of the Interior – José Luís Carneiro
Minister of Justice – Catarina Sarmento e Castro
Minister of Finance – Fernando Medina
Minister of Parliamentary Affairs – Ana Catarina Mendes
Minister of the Economy and the Sea – António Costa Silva
Minister of Culture – Pedro Adão e Silva
Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education – Elvira Fortunato
Minister of Education – João Marques da Costa
Minister of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security – Ana Mendes Godinho
Minister of Health – Marta Temido
Minister of Environment and Climate – Duarte Cordeiro
Minister of Infrastructure and Housing – Pedro Nuno Santos
Minister of Territorial Cohesion – Ana Abrunhosa
Minister of Agriculture and Food – Maria do Céu Antunes

The current composition of the government, including the positions of expert state secretaries at the level of deputy minister, is available on its website.

Foreign policy of the country

Until the so-called Carnation Revolution in April 1974, Portuguese foreign policy was always linked to its historical role during the period of seafarers, the discovery of new territories and the resulting position of a colonial power. Portuguese diplomacy has historically sought to maintain independence in the face of the threat of annexation by Spain and to preserve the Portuguese-British alliance that dates back to 1294 and continues to the present day. Among its other goals were the continued efforts for political stability in the Iberian Peninsula and the affirmation of Portugal’s interests in Europe and the Atlantic region, similar to those in various historical periods in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

Democratization in the mid-1970s 20. century also brought the beginning of a new era of Portuguese foreign policy, which has since followed three main priorities: European integration, the transatlantic link and the Portuguese-speaking countries of the world.

Portugal is a founding member of NATO (1949) and since 1986 also a member of the European Union. The country can be defined as a staunch supporter of European integration and close transatlantic relations. Check relationshipsplus for Portugal defense and foreign policy.

Portugal benefits significantly from EU membership, where it is among the net beneficiaries of its funds. During its presidency of the Council of the EU, Portugal has always emphasized dialogue with African countries. As part of its last presidency, it organized the EU leaders’ meeting with India in the 1st half of 2021. Another long-term priority within the EU is strengthening the dynamism and competitiveness of the European economy, but in recent years, for example, issues related to social development, migration, climate change and digitization.

Prioritizing relations with EU countries, with the USA and with Portuguese-speaking countries on various continents is, in addition to an active role in international organizations, a key feature of Portuguese foreign policy in the 21st century. Within NATO and the UN, Portugal is an active contributor to peacekeeping missions and contingents.

Already in the 1980s, Portugal initiated the idea of ​​closer cooperation between Portuguese-speaking countries, which resulted in the formal establishment of the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries (CPLP) in 1996. In addition to Portugal, its founding member countries are Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique and São Tomé and Príncipe. After gaining independence, East Timor also joined the CPLP in 2020, and Equatorial Guinea joined the CPLP in 2014 as the last country to date. In 2016, the Czech Republic also gained observer status at the CPLP.

Together with Spain, Portugal regularly participates in Ibero-American summits. In cooperation with the US, Asian allies and the UN, Portugal has significantly supported East Timor’s efforts to gain independence from its former overseas colony. Activities in the international field in recent decades have brought Portugal considerable respect, which is evidenced by, among other things, a number of significant successes in elections to high positions in international organizations. The country is perceived by the international community as a respected and balanced partner that respects other states and their interests, promotes principles and policies leading to the benefit of all, and is very credible in the way it pursues its own and common goals and how it faces the challenges that are considers his own.

In February 2022, Portugal firmly condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine and within a few days created the conditions for accepting refugees from Ukraine, of whom over 30,000 came to the country in the two months since the start of the war.


Population (2021): 10,344,802
Population density (2020): 11inhabitants per km2
Share of economically active population (2021): 49.79% (50.3% men and 49.7% women)
Average annual population growth (2021): -0.21%
Average age (2020): 4years
Life expectancy (2021): 8years (78.1 years men and 8years women)

From a demographic point of view, migration is of great importance, whose influence on the number of inhabitants has been rather positive in recent years. In the long term, incoming immigrants mainly from Brazil, Portuguese-speaking African countries and Eastern European countries were compensated by a significant number of especially young Portuguese leaving for work in other EU member states. A significant factor is the aging of the population, with more than million pensioners currently living in Portugal.

As for the national composition, approximately 94% are Portuguese and over 661 thousand members of other nationalities (mostly from Brazil, the United Kingdom, Cape Verde, Romania and Ukraine). Due to the strong influx of refugees from Ukraine, especially during March 2022, Ukrainians became the second most numerous national minority in Portugal after Brazilians within a few weeks.

In terms of religion, the majority (81%) are Roman Catholics, 3% other Christian denominations, 0.6% other religions, 6% atheists and the rest unspecified. However, the role of the Catholic faith and the church in the lives of young Portuguese in particular is declining compared to the past.