News - March 14, 2013

Meanwhile in... Portugal

News headline: 'Portugal is in the worst recession since 1975.' In other words: Portugal is in crisis. Unemployment stands at 17.6 percent, the economy shrunk 3.2 percent last year, pensions and salaries are being cut. The government predicts a 2 percent contraction this year.
Commenting on the news: Alexandra Ginja and Inês Lopes, master students in Food Technology.

Alexandra: 'We have heard so much about the crisis already, we're are fed up with it. The more we talk about it, the more power it gets. We really want to look to the future. Still it is affecting our generation in a big way. People my age have to rely on their parents for a much longer time. I am not sure if I can still afford to go to university next year for example.'

Inês: 'Because it is very difficult to get a job, a lot of young people are moving to countries like Brasil, Angola and Mozambique because they can't find a job at home. Also people normally get their own house after college when they start work, but these days they stay at home even though they don't want to. You can tell that people have lowered their standards: they don't expect a huge house and a nice car.'

Alexandra: 'The good thing is we are getting more creative and active, we have to. Our culture is very protective. You should call your mother every day, and mine worries a lot when I go out in the rain on a bike. Living in Wageningen I have learned to trust myself more and take action to solve my own problems. This is what is happening in my country too. We were used to going with the flow, but now we have to create opportunities. Our country has a lot to offer, great quality wine, food, cork, fabrics and clean energy. We are more than just Cristiano Ronaldo.'

Inês: 'Unemployed people start up small companies, being entrepreneurs. And Fado, our typical Portuguese music, is immensely popular among young people. It plays a big role in our national identity, and last year it was declared a Unesco patrimony. Fado singer Mariza is famous all over the world, and has moved audiences as far as China. It makes me feel proud and it gives us hope for the future.'