Portuguese foreign policy is based on three strategic principles: European integration, transatlantic relations and lusophony. Such uniqueness offers Portugal much added potential for getting involved in overseas activities within the political, economic and cultural spectrums. Owing to the challenges that confront the world’s economic and financial organisations, inevitably affecting Portugal as well, it’s necessary that foreign policy makes a substantial contribution to a nation’s image abroad and acts as an important mechanism for economic and social development. Regarding lusophony, there’s a need to complement and strengthen each of the following aspects: economic diplomacy, overseas cultural activities and policy for development co-operation, with the latter providing an important source of investment, both for Portugal and its partner countries, to the extent that it:
- Strengthens the capacities of countries and institutions in areas fundamental to human development;
- Promotes good governance, democracy and consolidation of the rule of law;
- Boosts local economies and promotes economic growth by strengthening national enterprise and attracting direct foreign investment which in turn contributes to an increase in global integration.
The uniqueness of Portuguese co-operation is based on specific cultural ties and communal affection for the Portuguese-speaking community, as well as the various historical, cultural, linguistic and legal affinities. In light of that, the Portuguese language - whilst being a global language and part of a common heritage – offers a significant amount of economic potential through new areas of growth, resources and ideas. Portuguese-speaking countries form part of a community of 250 million people across four continents whose political and economic influence is growing. This community represents approximately 4% of global GDP (Gross Domestic Product).
By recognising the importance of culture for the construction of multicultural societies, in tandem with the ability to develop and enhance their cultural uniqueness on an international level, it is important to promote the areas of heritage and the arts in all their various aspects.
Co-operation policy should, therefore, be seen as a catalyst for establishing partnerships and implementing new projects for the mutual benefit of citizens and businesses. Portugal cannot remain indifferent to the evolution of institutional frameworks and the need for "real time" monitoring in order to change EU co-operation policy and develop the institutional frameworks of other EU member states as a means to strategically supporting the involvement of new co-operative entities, especially in the private sector, and establish synergies in areas of investment and trade. In this sense, Portuguese co-operation must demonstrate an ability to adapt to the new international panorama and, where necessary, reposition itself to become instrumental in making its interventions more coherent, effective and efficient to facilitate additional sources of funding for more sustainable development in the partner countries.