LISBON, March 30 Portugal has set up a task
force that will focus on luring investment away from Britain
following its decision to leave the European Union, a government
minister said on Thursday.
Many companies are pondering a shift of jobs and investment
to continental Europe and some think London risks damaging its
status as Europe's biggest financial centre after Britain
formally began its divorce from the European Union on Wednesday.
"The cabinet approved the creation of a temporary structure
named 'Portugal In' that is designed to attract investments that
want to stay in the EU after the United Kingdom's exit. It will
report directly to the prime minister," government relations
minister Maria Leitao Marques told a news conference.
The mandate of the task force will run through to the end of
2019, after the British exit comes into effect in late March
Portugal, which emerged from an international bailout in
2014 after a debt crisis, is seeking more direct foreign
investment to help the economy grow so that the country can
leave its debt woes behind.
The new body is tasked with "promoting factors that
differentiate Portugal, namely in terms of human resources and
its geoeconomic position, to dynamise the entrepreneurial
capacity and jobs creation," the minister said.
Portugal is continental Europe's westernmost country, which
allows for an ease of travel between Britain, Europe, Africa and
the Americas. It boasts a warm coastal Atlantic climate, sandy
beaches and low rents, and is already home to many British
expats, some of them with business interests in the country.
(Reporting By Sergio Goncalves and Andrei Khalip; Editing by