PORTUGAL



José Manuel Durão Barroso
Prime Minister

Portugal

(pronounced "JOE-say man-WELL doo-ROW bah-ROW-soh")

"A new era has begun today - I hope it will bring a richer and fairer country."

The Portuguese Republic is located on the western portion of the Iberian Peninsula in Western Europe. To the west lies the Atlantic Ocean and to the north and east lies its only bordering neighbor, Spain. The climate is mild and temperate, with an average annual temperature of 61ºF (16ºC). The total area of Portugal is 92,391 sq km (35,672 sq mi), with an estimated population of 10.1 million in 2002. Approximately 30% of the population live in urban areas. The capital and largest city is Lisbon (metropolitan population nearly 2 million in 2000), situated at the mouth of the Tagus River along the western coast. The Portuguese Republic also includes two archipelagos located in the Atlantic: the Azores and the Madeiras Islands.

Portugal is a culturally homogenous country, characterized by a Mediterranean identity comprised of Iberian, Latin, Teutonic, and Moorish elements. A widely shared sense of national identity developed as early as the fourteenth century. Black African immigrants constitute about 1% of the population. Over 94% of the population is affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church, with Muslim, Jewish, and Protestant minorities comprising most of the remaining 6%. Portuguese, the official language, is spoken by virtually the entire population.

Portugal has made great strides in catching up with its richer neighbors. Per capita gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at US $18,000 in 2002, up from US $6,984 in 1990. Average annual growth between 1996 and 2000 was 3.2% and above the average for the euro-zone. In 2002, however, it appeared to have dropped to below one percent. Unemployment was 4.7% in 2002. There are still some weak spots. Portugal runs a trade deficit and economic growth is driven by domestic consumption. Its main exports are not very competitive, consisting of clothing and footwear, machinery, chemicals, and cork and paper products. More than 80% of its exports go to countries of the European Union (EU). Until 2002, the unit of currency was the Portuguese escudo , but Portugal was among the nations that adopted the common currency, the euro (€), in 2002. Portugal joined European Monetary Union (EMU) in 1999 after it brought down its budget deficit to 1.2% of GDP.

ADDRESS

Office of the Prime Minister
Presidencia do Conselho de Ministros
Rua du Imprensa 8
1300 Lisboa, Portugal

Also read article about Portugal from Wikipedia

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