Prime Minister António Costa, Ministers of State and Presidency, Mariana Vieira da Silva, National Defence João Gomes Cravinho, Internal Administration, Eduardo Cabrita and Health, Marta Temido, met with the specialists in charge of the vaccination plan against Covid-19, in Lisbon.

The Minister of Health, in a statement stated that on December 3 “there will be the first public presentation of the baseline scenario of the vaccination plan against Covid-19”, adding that “the national amount could reach 200 million euros and exceed 22 million doses’.

Marta Temido said that the working group “presented the four essential plans that will be made public tomorrow (3rd December): which vaccines are available and, depending on their quantities, which are the target groups for vaccination, where will the vaccine be administered, where electronic registration will be made, as well as aspects related to logistics, security, and communication aspects ”.

The Minister underlined that everyone should “have the perception that the vaccination process will be long, over several months, so we will have to ensure that we keep the rules until we can guarantee the administration of the vaccines, which we estimate may be made available to beginning of 2021 ».

Marta Temido underlined that “there are still many uncertainties in this process”, highlighting four.

The first is that “the results of the last phase of clinical trials prior to the authorization of introducing medicines are not yet known, so the efficacy of vaccines is not yet assessed by the European Medicines Agency”, although dates are already set for two vaccines.

The second is that “there are uncertainties with published clinical trials that mostly cover people between 18 and 55 years old”.

The third is that “the duration of immunity from vaccination is not yet fully known”.

And the fourth, “that the available data do not recommend the vaccination of children and pregnant women”.

The Minister recalled that “Portugal has been following the process conducted by the European Union for the development, production and distribution of vaccines” since June, having participated in the monitoring committee, and that “in August the Council of Ministers authorized the first expenditure on the acquisition of vaccines in the context of joint European purchases, in the initial amount of 20 million euros”.

Following news made public about transfers to the Humanitarian Associations of Voluntary Firefighters (AHBV), under the Special Rural Fire Fighting Device (DECIR) of 2020, the Ministry of Internal Administration clarifies:
Within the scope of the DECIR 2020 Ground Device, 26.6 million euros have already been transferred to AHBV this year. As an extraordinary expense (replacement and repair of vehicles, damage to equipment, food and lost wages) the amount of 6.5 million euros was determined, of which:
– 500 thousand euros were already settled in September;
– 4.8 million euros are able to be paid
– 1.2 million euros are not yet duly substantiated with accounting documents.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs recognizes and values ​​the irreplaceable role of our country’s voluntary firefighters, particularly in a year in which, in addition to rural fires, they were called upon to respond to events related to the pandemic.
This effort resulted in additional expenses with the purchase of personal protective equipment, in addition to the cut suffered in revenues from transporting patients.
In order to respond to this new reality, the Government has already transferred to the AHBV an amount of 1.9 million euros of exceptional and temporary support due to the pandemic, in a total of 6.5 million euros approved.
Also to deal with the context of the pandemic, the Government almost doubled the amount of the annual transfer – from 3% to 5% of the permanent financing of the AHBV – to the Social Protection Fund for Firefighters.
It was also possible to strengthen the response capacity through the creation of specialized teams in the field of health, with vehicles made available by firefighters paid daily by the National Authority for Emergency and Civil Protection, to ensure the necessary permanent availability.
As for the 7 million euros approved under the Supplementary State Budget, its payment is awaiting a budget increase that is expected to be available during the month of December.
It should also be noted that the State Budget for 2021 foresees an increase of 12.7% in transfers to voluntary firefighters, which represents an increase of 3.6 million euros.

Officially, the 1st of December is a public holiday in the country, to commemorate the restoration of Portuguese independence.

Between the late 16th century until the mid-17th century, Portugal was under the Iberian Union with Spain. This led to Portugal being ruled by three generations of Spanish Kings, which are known in our history as the “Filipes” as all three Kings (Philip II, Philip III, Philip IV) who ruled Portugal, had the same first name. What set the stage for Spanish rule was a dynastical crisis brought on by the actions of the young Portuguese King, Sebastian I. At the tender age of 3, Sebastian became King of Portugal, inheriting a vast colonial empire from his grandfather, King John III.

At age of 21 king Sebastian made the fateful decision of invading Morocco on crusade a campaign that would end in a crushing defeat in the battle of Alcacér-Quibir. No one knows what became of Sebastian. He disappeared in battle, giving rise to legends over centuries that we would return on a misty day to save his Kingdom.

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The three main claimants to the throne were Catarina de Bragança, Don António Prior do Crato, and Philip II of Spain (a relative of Sebastião), an ambitious King who sought to add Portugal to his vast empire.

Philip II came to rule Portugal, through an astute combination of diplomacy and sheer brute force. The “Philippine era” would be initially positive for Portugal. However, during the first half of the 17th century the Spanish empire entered a period of decline. The Dutch and the English seized various Spanish and Portuguese colonial possessions and the Spanish Empire was struggling with the Dutch Revolt and the Thirty Years’ War. Discontent was brewing in Portugal.

The Portuguese nobility stood to lose considerable power and influence, so a group of nobles known as the Forty Conspirators organized a coup against the Spanish forces with the end goal of placing John, the 8th Duke of Braganza, on the Portuguese throne. The coup was carried out on the 1st of December 1640. The Forty Conspirators killed the Secretary of State, Miguel de Vasconcelos, and imprisoned Margaret of Savoy, cousin to the King himself and ruler of Portugal in his name. John of Braganza would be acclaimed by the people of Lisbon on the same day, and would subsequently reign as King John IV.

The timing of the execution was specifically chosen to coincide with Spanish campaigns in the Thirty Years’ War and efforts to quell a revolt in Catalonia, thus allowing the new King time to consolidate his rule and mount a defence before the Spanish could act against Portugal. The ensuing conflict would last 28 years, and would be marked by various border skirmishes and raids. However, there were five major battles during the War of Restoration, namely: the Battle of Montijo (1644), the Battle of Lines of Elvas (1659), the Battle of Ameixial (1663), Battle of Castelo Rodrigo (1664), and the last major engagement was the Battle of Montes Claros (1665).

All of these battles are commemorated in the Obelisk at the centre of Lisbon’s Restauradores Square. Portugal also relied on diplomatic and military aid from England, who wanted to undermine Spanish hegemony in continental Europe, and when an alliance with France was secured, the Spanish would be forced to sign the Treaty of Lisbon in February 1668, recognizing the house of Braganza as the Royal dynasty of Portugal and putting an end to a conflict between two neighbours.

Starting today, December 1, consumers will pay less for electricity consumption. This decrease will benefit around 5.2 million contracts, which corresponds to around 86% of low voltage customers.
It is a socially just and environmentally responsible measure, as it allows families, particularly large families, to save on the electricity bill, while contributing to the achievement of objectives included in the European Green Pact.
What changes from December 1?
An intermediate rate of 13% VAT will be applied to consumption up to 100 kilowatt hours (kWh) of monthly consumption. Consumption above 100 kWh is subject to the standard VAT rate of 23%. That is, the first 100 kWh of the month will be taxed at 13%, and what is consumed above that will be taxed at 23%. The measure applies to domestic customers with low voltage and power contracts up to 6.9 kVA, which represents the majority of families.
Do large families have an additional benefit?
Yes. As of March 21, 2021, households with five or more members will benefit from a 50% increase. For these families, the 13% VAT rate applies to consumption up to 150 kWh per month.
What will be the savings?
According to Government estimates, for families with a family of up to four elements, in the regulated market, paying an invoice of 25.64 euros per month will save 1.54 euros monthly, which at the end of the year represents a saving of 18.48 euros (contracted power 3.45 kVA, monthly consumption 134 kWh).
In the case of a family with five or more elements, on the regulated market, with an invoice of 49.80 euros, the monthly savings will be 2.31 euros per month, which at the end of the year represents a savings of 27.72 euros ( contracted power 6.90 kVA, monthly consumption 262 kWh).
What do I need to do to benefit from the reduction?
The reduction of the VAT rate to 13% for the first 100 kWh consumed in the month is automatic. Thus, the electricity bill for December will already reflect this positive change in the bills without the consumer having to take any action.
In order to benefit from the increase from March 2021, households with five or more members must demonstrate this condition with their electricity supplier, by means of a written application and one of the following documents:
a) IRS statement referring to the most recent current year, proven to have been submitted and validated. If the Claimant is married or de facto married, both IRS declarations must be submitted, unless he has opted for joint taxation under the terms of paragraph 2 of article 59 of the IRS Code;
b) Municipal Large Family Card;
c) Declaration by the Parish Council proving the household;
d) Last invoice for the water supply in the name of the holder of the energy contract, which includes the application of the family water tariff.
Does this measure accumulate with the reduction of VAT on the contracted power?
Yes. This measure complements the reduction of the VAT rate to 6% in the fixed component of the network access tariffs for electricity supplies corresponding to a contracted power not exceeding 3.45 kVA, which came into force on July 1, 2019 .