Communique of Council of Ministers extending State of Emergency to 14th February 2021

Communique of Council of Ministers

1.The Council of Ministers approved the decree that makes a series of changes with regard to the measures that regulate the extension of the state of emergency decreed by the President of the Republic. This decree comes into force at 00:00 on January 31, 2021 (midnight 30th/31st) and maintains the regime in force until 23:59 on February 14, 2021.

The main changes introduced are:

– the suspension of educational and teaching activities of public, private and cooperative education establishments and of the social and solidarity sector, pre-school education and basic and secondary education is in force until 5 February 2021, and these activities are resumed, from February 8, on a non-face-to-face basis;

– the suspension of these activities and the non-face-to-face regime do not prevent the taking of international curriculum tests or exams;

– whenever necessary, the therapeutic support provided in special education establishments, schools and also by the resource centers for inclusion can be provided in person, as well as the reception in the units integrated in the learning support centers, for students for whom additional measures were mobilized;

– the limitation to travel outside the continental territory by Portuguese citizens (cidadãos Portugueses), carried out by any means, namely by road, rail, air, river or sea, without prejudice to the exceptions provided for in the Decree;

– the restoration of control of people at land borders, under the terms provided for in the Decree;

– possibility of suspension of flights and determination of mandatory confinement of passengers on arrival, when the epidemiological situation so warrants;

– the possibility for health care establishments of the National Health Service to be able, exceptionally, to contract resolutive terms, up to the limit of one year, of holders of academic degrees conferred by a foreign higher education institution in the field of medicine and in the field of nursing, provided that certain requirements are met.

2..Decree-Law was also approved, which establishes exceptional mechanisms for the management of health professionals to carry out health care activities, within the scope of the COVID-19 disease pandemic, in the health services and establishments of the National Health Service.

It is determined that the planned management mechanisms can only be used to deal with the exceptional and temporary increase in functions directly related to the pandemic of the disease COVID-19, including the respective Vaccination Plan, and as long as this need remains.

With this measure, the Government seeks to frame the additional effort of those workers, especially those who are direct providers of care, giving the respective administrative bodies exceptional management mechanisms that, in the current context, reinforce the availability for the provision of care.

3. The Decree-Law was approved, which extends social benefits to include persons whose disability results from an accident occurring within the scope of functions related to protection and relief missions, with the aim of strengthening the protection of persons with disabilities, fulfilling the commitment made in the State Budget for 2020.

It is also established the possibility for the payment of Social Security for Inclusion to be made to a legal person that proves to be in charge of a disabled person. The Support Allowance for the Primary Caregiver, provided for in the Informal Caregiver Statute, is also included in the list of benefits that can be accumulated with the Social Benefit for Inclusion.

4. The draft law establishing the framework law for public utility status was approved.

The diploma, to be submitted to the Assembly of the Republic, aims to consolidate, in a single legislative act, the legal regime applicable to public utility companies, putting an end to the current legislative dispersion and revoking, with this objective, several legislative acts. In effect, all the individual legal provisions contained in legislative acts that discipline specific types of private legal persons are revoked, centralizing all references to the status of public utility in a single diploma.

It is intended, through this global and integrated review, to value philanthropic or community-based initiatives, recognizing the essential role that these institutions play in our social fabric, reinforcing the instruments for monitoring their activity.

5. The decree-law that ensures the implementation in the internal legal order of Regulation (EU) 910/2014 on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market was approved.

The diploma establishes the division of responsibilities between national bodies in the supervision and verification of conformity of the Regulation, designating the competent authorities, and defines the sanctioning framework applicable in case of infraction. It also consolidates the existing legislation on the validity, effectiveness and probative value of electronic documents, and on the functioning of the State’s Electronic Certification System – Public Key Infrastructure.

It applies to electronic documents produced by individuals and the Public Administration and to electronic identification systems notified by Member States of the European Union, under Articles 7 and 9 of the Regulation.

6.The Council of Ministers approved the Long-Term Strategy for the Renovation of Buildings (ELPRE), which provides for the creation of incentive and support mechanisms for the renovation of the built national park, taking into account the following objectives: carbon neutrality, community and national level; promoting the energy efficiency of buildings, public and private. ELPRE thus encourages job creation and investment opportunities.

7.The Government has decided to submit, for approval, to the Assembly of the Republic the Framework Agreement between the European Union and its Member States, on the one hand, and Australia, on the other hand, signed in Manila on 7 August 2017.

This Agreement aims to contribute to improving the partnership between the EU and Australia, based on common principles and values, including respect for democratic principles, human rights and fundamental freedoms, the rule of law and international peace and security, as well as international law and respect for the principles of the United Nations Charter.