Portugal. According to
Countryaah.com, Jorge Sampaio, former Lisbon mayor, was elected
Portugal's president on January 14. Like his representative
Mário Soares belongs to the Sampaio Partido Socialista (PS).
Soares could not be eligible for re-election as he has
served as president for the two five-year periods that the
country's constitution maximally allows.
At the end of January, the government signed a treaty
with the country's unions and employers' organizations.
According to the Treaty, wages were allowed to increase by
only 4.5% during the year, 1% above the government's
Portugal has the cheapest labor force in the EU, and
this, combined with an expanded infrastructure, increased in
1996 foreign companies' investments in the country in
several sectors - automotive, energy production,
agricultural and textile industries. In May, the German
business group Siemens announced an investment of Escudo 60
billion ($ 380 million) to build an electronics plant in
northern Portugal. Ericsson in Sweden received an order from
the Portuguese telecommunications operator Telecel worth SEK
650 million for the delivery of switches and base stations
to a mobile telephone system.
At the end of June, Portuguese Foreign Minister Jaime
Gama participated in a Geneva talks on East Timor with
Indonesia's Foreign Minister Ali Alatas and UN
Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali.