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Newsletter August 2016

Legal Updates

Reinforcement of the protection and worth of cultural heritage

The current regime and policy for the protection and worth of cultural heritage was reinforced by Law No. 30/2016, following the transposition of Directive 2014/60/UE of the European Parliament and the Council, dating from 15th of May 2014.

The return of cultural objects that left the Country in violation of National law will hence be facilitated, namely through the reinforced cooperation between the central authorities of Member-States and through the extension of both the legal regime and deadlines granted to the faulted State by the illicit exit.

National laws that protect the cultural heritage will therefore gain a greater expression and there will no longer be limits to their enforcement contrived to criteria of inclusion in predefined categories, monetary worth and antiquity

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Access to banking balance may, after all, be unconstitutional

The National Committee on Data Protection – CNPD – has issued a legal opinion considering the new tax obligation on banking balance to be unconstitutional. This new tax obligation, included in the State Budget for 2016, consists on the communication to the Tax Authorities of the balance of all the account owners and beneficiary residents in Portugal.

According to the CNPD, this obligation is deemed unconstitutional due to the inadequate, unnecessary and even excessive restriction of the fundamental rights of protection of personal data and right to privacy, included in the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic.

In its own defense, the CNPD claims that this measure is not only abusive and a violation of the referred fundamental rights, but also inadequate to fighting tax evasion.

The CNPD also claims that the knowledge regarding the Portuguese tax residents’ banking balance cannot fight tax evasion single-handedly, since the capital detained by residents in those accounts is not taxed in itself, therefore implying an offense of the taxpayers’ right to privacy with no apparent justification.

Government must now prove to the CNPD that there are not any available measures that could prove to be less damaging of the taxpayers’ fundamental rights while aiming at the same results.

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Business Updates

AICEP promotes “road-show” of the biggest technology companies in Portugal

Starting July last, Portugal is currently being visited by the representatives of some of the biggest technology Companies in the world. This project includes the participation of entities such as Apple, Twitter, Amazon, Airbnb, Square and Facebook. The strategy was promoted by the Agency for Investment on the External Commerce of Portugal (“AICEP”) with the purpose of creating new partnership and investment opportunities for Portuguese Companies. The main target is to create a free technology zone that should have a defined plan by the end of the year, as well as a financing program of risk capital and business angels, regarded as the most strategic measures to raise foreign investment to Portuguese startups.

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António Guterres as a probable candidate to secretary-general of the United Nations

António Guterres, former Prime-Minister of Portugal (1995-2001), is a top figure in the United Nations Organization since 2005, having been appointed as High Commissioner of the United Nations for the Refugees for a period of 10 years (2005-2015).

In 2016, he applied his candidacy to Secretary-General of the United Nations, role being currently attributed to the South-Korean Ban Ki-Moon, hence discarding his candidacy in late 2015 to President of the Portuguese Republic.

Seen as a person of exemplary work in the United Nations, he was never considered a likely main candidate, since the rotation nature of the position implied that the main candidates were the Bulgarian current Director-General of the UNESCO Irina Bokova or the former Slovenian President Danilo Türk. However, for many people’s surprise, António Guterres won the first round of voting and became the main candidate.

The electoral process will still obey a series of new elections, deemed to be concluded in October, by which time the remaining 12 candidates will have abandoned the run for President, and only one candidate is presented to the Assembly-General.

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