Government standardizes subsidies for honorary consuls
The Government has decided to standardize the subsidies allocated to honorary consulates, according to the competences attributed, said today a responsible of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MNE).
The measure, already in application, aimed at ending the asymmetries verified in subsidies granted by the Portuguese State to honorary consuls, said today the director general of Consular Affairs and Portuguese Communities (DGACCP), Júlio Vilela, in the presentation of the report on Consular Activity in the World in 2017, at the MNE.
Portugal has 226 honorary posts abroad, in a total of 105 countries, serving a Portuguese community of 5,740,787 citizens, and, last year, the Government devoted "particular attention" to the honorary network.
The director-general added that "a rectification of the way in which the granting of grants was made, which had an asymmetric is accountable to the post on which it depends, and the need to compartmentalize the form of granting subsidies based on what are the competences ".
In Venezuela, he exemplified, the ten honorary consulates are now financed "based on the same criteria: honorary consuls with the same skills have the same type of financial support".
At the session, which was also attended by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Augusto Santos Silva, the Secretary of State for Portuguese Communities, José Luís Carneiro, announced the creation of two new honorary consulates: Gent (Belgium) and Meknès (Morocco).
In addition, 18 new honorary consuls were appointed in 16 countries: Cabinda (Angola); Chennai (India); Gothenburg (Sweden); Guadalajara (Mexico); Houston and San Diego (USA); Jeddah (Saudi Arabia); La Valetta (Malta); Meknès (Morocco); Mérida and Punto Fijo (Venezuela); Munich (Germany); N'Djamena (Chad); Novosibirsk (Russia); Poznan (Poland); Quelimane (Mozambique); Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic) and Vientiane (Laos).
The Government also wants to guarantee training to honorary consuls, "with a view to training them for protection and consular support, as well as for the contribution to be made to the internationalization of the country".
They have consular protection functions; promotion of economic, commercial and cultural relations; representation of Portugal; logistical support and facilitating contacts. They may, in addition, have extended powers to carry out electoral registration, civil registration and notary operations and issue travel documents.
Honorary consuls are not paid for their duties, but exceptionally "may receive financial and material support to cover costs related to the exercise of their duties".