After three years of debates and more than two decades of waiting, the CPLP (Community of Portuguese-speaking countries) approved this Saturday (17) an agreement aimed at facilitating the movement of citizens between nine Portuguese-speaking countries, which can bring benefits to the exchange of students and professionals.
The formal approval at the meeting of heads of state and government this Saturday (17) in Luanda, Angola, marks the end of a long phase of negotiation. The deadline for the implementation of the agreement and the types of dissemination that will actually be implemented, however, are still uncertain. The bloc includes Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Mozambique, Portugal, São Tomé and Príncipe and East Timor.
Before entering into force, the agreement on the mobility of persons must be approved by the national parliaments of the CPLP countries, which will have the freedom to define their own traffic rules. It will be possible to have more general arrangements and other specific bilateral agreements.
“This is an agreement that will not apply automatically. In a first phase, it should include a certain category of people, such as students, researchers, artists, journalists. It is a door that opens for greater freedom of movement, ”the executive secretary of the institution, Francisco Ribeiro Telles, told Folha.
Speaking to reporters this Saturday (17) in Luanda, Prime Minister António Costa said Portugal is expected to ratify the deal in September, after the end of the summer vacation. Speaking about relations with Brazil, he said the new arrangement could reduce barriers to professional practice between the two countries. According to him, one of the objectives of the agreement “is not to have again the crisis of Brazilian dentists in Portugal [na década de 1980], or, more recently, Portuguese engineers in Brazil ”.
Kamilla Rizzi, professor at Unipampa (Federal University of Pampa), believes that the agreement will really be an important step for the organization, with tangible advances in the academic and commercial fields. “The academic exchange sector is the one that will be affected the most quickly. There is already a lot of researcher exchanges between institutions in these countries, but with this mobility agreement, it tends to accelerate and move forward a lot. more, “he says.
“There is also the potential to greatly facilitate the issue of trade, especially between small entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs who build this bridge a lot between Brazil and Africa or between Brazil and Portugal. It tends to be gradually facilitated too, ”he says.
A major challenge in the Brazilian scenario, according to the researcher, could be the question of the validation of diplomas and the authorization to exercise certain professional activities. “The validations depend a lot on the associations of each domain. Thus, these diploma validations and the release from certain professional activities go a little beyond the federal government’s own attributions, but I think that society’s request can help put pressure on it, ”he adds.
The idea of creating a circulation policy within the CPLP is almost as old as the bloc, which has just completed 25 years. The economic and social asymmetries between the Member States, however, meant that the issue had always encountered internal resistance.
According to Rui Figueiredo, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cape Verde, a country which now cedes the rotating presidency of the bloc to Angola, the agreement will deepen the integration of Portuguese-speaking countries. “It transforms a community of countries into a community of people, a community in which citizens can truly feel included,” he said, shortly after the initial approval at Cabinet in March.
According to him, the agreement is a kind of understanding of “variable geometry”, which will allow different arrangements between member countries. “The nuances relate to the possibility for the countries to choose the types of agreements, the type of modalities they wish to register in relation to each country. We have the CPLP countries which are integrated states in different regional spaces, and we cannot make an agreement that would be unique for everyone, ”he said.
For some specialists, the fact that Portugal is part of the so-called Schengen area – which guarantees free movement in the European Union and associated countries – may constitute a brake on Portuguese ambitions for mobility within the CPLP.
The mobility proposal was presented by Portugal in 2016 and is an old will of the Prime Minister, António Costa, who even included it in his government program in the 2015 elections. The Prime Minister has already said that there is had leeway aside. Portuguese. “While in the field of visas [de curta duração] we are subject to a common European Union policy, and we have a limited margin of flexibility, there is no common European policy on freedom of residence, ”said Costam in 2018.
At the last high-level CPLP in-person summit, in Ilha do Sal (Cape Verde) in 2018, the Brazilian delegation was assisted by then-President Michel Temer (MDB). This year the country is represented by the Vice-President, Hamilton Mourão.
President Jair Bolsonaro’s (non-party) absence from the meeting was announced before health problems prompted him to be hospitalized. During a visit to Lisbon in early June, Brazilian Foreign Minister Carlos França said Bolsonaro would not attend the meeting due to agenda issues.
Some African analysts suggest, however, that Bolsonaro’s absence from the Luanda meeting could have been motivated by the crisis between the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (IURD) and the Angolan government. The Brazilian representatives of the Eurd summit are being prosecuted by the authorities of this African country.
In a behind-the-scenes analysis of the CPLP published in the Angolan periodical Novo Jornal, journalist and sociologist Luzia Moniz called Bolsonaro’s absence “predictable, due to the conflict between the Brazilian Urd and the authorities, especially after the expulsion of dozens of bishops from national territory and the ‘nationalization’ of the Urd in Angola ”. Moniz also underlines the importance of evangelicals in the electoral and governmental base of the Brazilian president.
The situation in Equatorial Guinea, led for more than four decades by Teodoro Obiang, is also a source of unease during the meeting. Admitted as a full member of the CPLP in 2014, on condition of abolishing the death penalty, the country has still not kept its promise.