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Newsletter May 2016

Legal Updates

European Union: New rules on the protection of personal data

On the 14th of April new rules on protection of personal data were approved by the European Parliament. The new legislative framework, which includes a Regulation and a Directive, aims at adjusting the current rules on data protection (which have been in force since 1995 – a time when less than 1% of the European population used the Internet) to the present needs, in order to provide an answer at an European level to the problems emerging from the advances in technology that have been taking place ever since.

Citizens, as well as corporations, will therefore have their rights reinforced. The right to delete data (right to be “forgotten”), the right to data portability and the right to be informed whenever a data violation takes place are among a phew examples.

As for its entering into force, it is estimated that it shall take place in the Spring of 2018, once the vacatio legis is finished.

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Fight against terrorism: Exchange of information of air passengers

The European Parliament gave its approval to the project directive “Passenger Name Record”. This project aims at structuring an European common database comprising the data of passengers who travel towards Europe.

Following the Paris and Brussels terrorist attacks, this measure appears as an attempt to react to the attacks which have recently fallen upon Europe. The main question is knowing which mechanisms ought to be adopted by each Member State, and by the European Union in order to collect and store all this enormous amount of information. Being the controversial subject that it is, some critics have emerged already, namely from the Vice-President of the European Parliament, who considered that “The Passenger Name Record is the equivalent to find a needle, not in a haystack, but rather in a field”.

It is left for us to wait for further developments and see what types of mechanisms will be used to face the greatest challenge of the 21st century.

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Business Updates

The relevance of the Portuguese passport in the world

Several international websites released a list of the most powerful passports, which contains the number of countries where the holder of a passport may enter without visa a visa being required. Since the beginning of these rankings, the Portuguese passport has ended up in the top places. According to the website https://www.passportindex.org/byRank.php in April 2016 our Passport was listed in 4th place, along with the USA passport. With a universe of 154 countries not demanding visa to holders of Portuguese passports it is to highlight that the top ranked countries present a total of 157 countries, meaning that there are only three other countries included in the list of countries which require no visas. This occurrence restates not only the position of Portugal, but also the recognition of the Portuguese citizenship throughout the world. Such thing should not be forgotten by investors who wish to invest in Portugal, namely through the Golden Visa program or through the recent modifications to nationality law, which currently grant the descendants of Sephardic Jews the possibility of acquiring the Portuguese nationality.

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TAP and Azul initiated flight sharing system

The Brazilian airline company Azul has invested around 100 million dollars in preferred stocks from TAP Portugal, which will grant the Brazilian company the right of holding approximately 40% of the capital of the Portuguese company. TAP was purchased through a Consortium integrated by the founder of Azul, David Neeleman, who signed a flight sharing agreement with the Brazilian company. Such investment is part of a 450-million-dollar agreement entered into by the Chinese HNA Group with Azul. However, the deal must be approved by the Nation Civil Aviation Authority. According to Azul, the investment will strengthen the common interests of both TAP and HNA Group. Starting May 4th 2016, the company Azul will initiate its first regular flight to Portugal with a route of three flights per week between Campinas and Lisboa. However, the route to Lisbon may go up to six flights per week during high season, depending on approval from the Brazilian and Portuguese airport authorities.

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