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Newsletter November 2017

Legal Updates

Resolution of the council of ministers nr. 159/2017, 21st of October

In 2017 Portugal was consumed by the biggest wave of fires of the last decades with nefarious consequences on various levels (human lives, habitations, agricultural holdings and infrastructures), becoming a threat to the safety of the population. Due to this, the Resolution of the Council of Ministers nr. 159/2017 develops activities of Scientific and Technologic Investigation related to the prevention and fighting of forest fires.

The independent Technical Committee, in its 12th of October Report, noted the necessity of promoting scientific investigation as well as innovation, integrating the emerging advances of science in areas such as meteorology, forestry, fire management and behaviour prediction, in prevention and fighting of forest fires. Also, it highlighted the importance of organising the knowledge generated by research institutions with the activities that complete the various components of the national forest defence system against fires (human resources qualification, forest valorisation as well as prevention and fighting of fires).

In conclusion, the Resolution determined the creation of a Mobilizer Program of I&D for the prevention and fighting of fires directed towards to the creation of solutions for specific problems, as well as the creation of monitoring platforms in rural areas and the optimization of early warnings of forest fires

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Arbitration in public procurement

With the entering into force of the new Public Procurement Code (henceforth “PPC”), the legislative option established in the Procedure Code of Administrative Courts (henceforth “PCAC”) was confirmed, which allows the use of arbitration in disputes emerging from Public Law, in particular from Public Procurement.

In the previous PCAC definition, the possibility of appeal to an arbitration court was restricted to the powers of annulment or declaration of nullity of administrative acts relating to their respective execution. In turn, the recent amend to the PPC establishes a wider scope concerning this matter.

Thus, in the new wording of the article 476.º of the PPC, you may now resolve through an arbitral court disputes emerging from procedures or contracts to which the PPC applies and, consequently, become encompassed all disputos from the pre-contractual phase to the execution of the contract itself.

It’s also noteworthy the preference for institutionalized arbitration, as non-institutionalized arbitration is reserved for a limited scope of circumstances.

This way, the regulation of Public Procurement is keeping up with the continuous recognition of Arbitration as a reliable alternative dispute resolution method, rising in the Public Law field, similar to other areas of law

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Business Updates

Promotion of bio-refineries create new economical potential for biomass

The National Plan for the Promotion of Bio-refineries was approved, a multi-faceted measure and with the potential to simultaneously answer several problems. The creation of these bio-mass centrals generates new jobs, increases national competitivity in the production of energy and enables the reduction of gas emission with greenhouse gas as it constitutes the exploitation of this renewable energy source as an alternative to fossil fuels. However, it’s another dimension that justifies more notice: the integration of bio-mass in a circular economic logic. The promotion of new value chains starting from natural and residual bio-mass may allow the much talked about (and demanded) cleaning of woods and forests, which represents until this date an expense without return and hardly sustainable for the majority of landowners (including the State). The published resolution constitutes an answer to the environmental question which has become unavoidable. This legislative piece also provides information on potential national bio-refineries, opening way to public-privet partnerships for activities in I&D&I (Investigation, Development and Innovation). The measure has 2030 as a horizon and will have associated structural funds.

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Startup visa and the dinimization of enterperneurship in Portugal

On the 6th of November, at the Web Summit, was announced the launch of the StartUp Visa program, within the National Strategy for Entrepreneurship (designated as StartUp Portugal). This was, starting from January 1st of 2018 young foreign entrepreneurs that want to incorporate a company with innovative purposes in our country, will have the possibility to access a residency visa that will allow them to create or move their startups to Portugal.

The applications for the StartUp Visa should be submitted through an online platform created exclusively for this purpose, which will be available from January of the next year, and access to this program will be subject to a previous inspection by the IAPMEI (Agência para a Competitividade e Inovação – Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation) of the project’s economical and innovative potential, the business’ scalability, the market potential, the management team’s ability, the potential for the creation of new skilled job places in Portugal and the importance of the residency visa seeker on team. There won’t be a minimum investment value, as there is for the Golden Visa programme, but the residency will depend on the Startup potential to, within three years of what is called the incubation period, reach a value of € 325.000, or a turnover of over € 500.000.

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