Portugal is a semi-presidential republic with a head of government - the prime minister - and a head of state - the president - who has power to appoint the prime minister and other government members. The country is administratively divided into 308 municipalities, subdivided into 3,092 civil parishes. Operationally, the only legally identifiable local administrative units are the municipality and civil parish, and the national government.
Trade and economy
The most important sectors of Portugal’s economy in 2020 were wholesale and retail trade, transport, accommodation and food services (20.8%) and public administration, defence, education, human health and social work activities (20.7%) and industry (17.4%).
Intra-EU trade accounts for 71% of Portugal’s exports (Spain 25%, France 14% and Germany 12%), while outside the 6% go to the United Kingdom and 5% to the United States.
In terms of imports, 75% come from EU Member States (Spain 33%, Germany 13% and France 7%), while outside the EU 5% come from China and 3% from the United Kingdom.
Portugal in the EU
Council of the EU
In the Council of the EU, national ministers meet regularly to adopt EU laws and coordinate policies. Council meetings are regularly attended by representatives from the Portuguese government, depending on the policy area being addressed.
Presidency of the Council of the EU
The Council of the EU doesn't have a permanent, single-person president (like e.g. the Commission or Parliament). Instead, its work is led by the country holding the Council presidency, which rotates every 6 months.
During these 6 months, ministers from that country's government chair and help determine the agenda of Council meetings in each policy area, and facilitate dialogue with the other EU institutions.
Dates of Portuguese presidencies:
Jan-Jun 1992 | Jan-Jun 2000 | Jul-Dec 2007
The Commission is represented in each EU country by a local office, called a "representation".
European Economic & Social Committee
Portugal has 12 representatives on the European Economic and Social Committee. This advisory body – representing employers, workers and other interest groups – is consulted on proposed laws, to get a better idea of the possible changes to work and social situations in member countries.
European Committee of the Regions
Portugal has 12 representatives on the European Committee of the Regions, the EU's assembly of regional and local representatives. This advisory body is consulted on proposed laws, to ensure these laws take account of the perspective from each region of the EU.
Permanent representation to the EU
Portugal also communicates with the EU institutions through its permanent representation in Brussels. As Portugal's "embassy to the EU", its main task is to ensure that the country's interests and policies are pursued as effectively as possible in the EU.
Budgets and Funding
How much does Portugal pay and receive?
How much each EU country pays into the EU budget is calculated fairly, according to means. The larger your country's economy, the more it pays – and vice versa.
The EU budget doesn't aim to redistribute wealth, but rather focuses on the needs of Europeans as a whole.
Figures on the EU budget, revenue and spending:
EU-funded projects in Portugal
The money paid into the EU budget by Portugal helps fund programmes and projects in all EU countries - like building roads, subsidising researchers and protecting the environment.
Find out more about how Portugal benefits from EU funding.