Portuguese look to Brazil, not Brussels, for help
Sunday Times, 14-02-2010
Outside the Brasilia sandwich bar in a poor part of Lisbon one afternoon last week a group of men leaned against the wall, chatting and smoking cigarettes. One of them whistled at the black prostitute touting for business over the road. A beggar in a threadbare coat swigged from a bottle.
Welcome to sunny Portugal.
Known for its seaside resorts and soulful fado music, the unassuming country on the western frontier of Europe is just as much in the mire as Greece as it struggles with soaring debt and rising unemployment, which have pushed a naturally melancholic people to the brink of despair.
Any mention of the word “work” provokes sniggers outside the sandwich bar. “There’s no jobs round here,” says Dario, 30, a bricklayer. “I’d go to Brazil if I could afford the air fare.”
By contrast, Brazil, a Portuguese-speaking power in the tropics, seems a land of opportunity. (...)
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