Portugal “needs to hope for the best but be prepared for the worst” regarding the impending withdrawal of the UK from the European Union, he said during the presentation of a regional innovation project for the industry sector.

“Companies and entrepreneurs should be aware of the challenges, but we have tackled worse problems in the past, so we will be able to successfully overcome this one, if it occurs”, he underlined.

Pedro Siza Vieira recalled the “contingency plan” already in force to face Brexit’s consequences, which foresees credit lines to Portuguese companies “so they can look for new markets and adapt to the new customs controls that may be needed”.

The minister also mentioned that the country is being “strongly promoted” in the UK to “make British consumers aware of our excellent products and to remind them Portugal is a friend who is willing to cooperate with the UK in the future”.

Innovation and qualification of human resources must be the priorities, he stressed.

“The ability to take university knowledge to companies is crucial to win the productivity battle” and be prepared for “the challenges of new economy”.