Executive summary

AuthorLopes, Dulce; Vicente, Joana
1. Introduction
Portugal has a long tradition of contact with other cultures and peoples. Due to the
experience of Portuguese emigration to Brazil and Latin America in general, as well as to
other countries in Europe such as France and Germany in the 1960s, the Portuguese are
used to tolerating difference, at least in terms of ethnic origin, race and religion.
In Portugal, racist or fascist political parties are forbidden.1 Therefore, such parties do not
exist. However, in 2019, for the first time, a representative of an extreme right-wing party
CHEGA entered Parliament with 1.3 % of the vote.
No conflicts have been reported between religious groups in 2019. However, as the
majority of the population is Catholic, other religions face greater problems in practice, for
example in ministering to people in hospitals and prisons. In addition, meals in public
schools are still not completely adapted to meet the needs of other religions, in particular
those of Islam. Notwithstanding these factors, religious diversity remains a fairly non-
controversial topic in Portuguese society.
Portuguese society is not yet fully aware of the issues involved in the relatively new field
of age discrimination and is only slowly becoming aware of their implications. However,
individuals are beginning to invoke age discrimination before the courts2 and before
equality bodies.3 The Portuguese Government believes that the law already implements
Directive 2000/78/EC in respect of age, but positive measures have not yet been
completely successful. The Portuguese Insurance Institute is working on creating whole-
life insurance for older people, and some insurance companies have already created health
insurance policies with no age limit. It is worth mentioning that Decree-Law 72/2008, which
establishes the legal framework for insurance contracts, prohibits discriminatory practices
in celebrating, executing and terminating insurance contracts that go against Article 13 of
the Portuguese Constitution. It also considers discriminatory practices in respect of
disability and aggravated health risk which may entail less favourable treatment for a
person in comparison with another who is in a similar situation (Article 15(1) and (2)).
However, practices and techniques of evaluation, selection and acceptance of risks as a
result of objective reasoning based on rigorous and relevant data, according to the
principles of insurance, are acceptable (Article 15(3)).4
1 Portuguese Constitution, Article 46(4); Organic Law 2/2003, on political parties, 22 August 2003 (last
amended by Organic Law 1/2018, 19 April 2018), Article 8, available at:
2 See Court of Appeal of Porto, judgment of 3 November 2014, No. 1013/12.5TTMTS.P1, available at:
cument&Highlight=0,discrimina%C3%A7%C3%A3o,em,fun%C3%A7%C3%A3o,da,idade. For a list of
national cases relating to age discrimination, see Cristina Martins da Cruz, (2019), ‘Discriminação em função
da idade: os trabalhadores mais velhos’, in O Direito dos Mais Velhos, Centro de Estudos Judiciários, Lisbon,
p. 47 ff., available at:
3 The Portuguese Ombudsman has undertaken some activities in respect of age discrimination even beyond
the labour sphere. See Catarina Ventura (Assessora do Provedor de Justiça) (2017), ‘O Provedor de Justica
e os desafios da inclusão no ensino superior’, available at: https://www.provedor-
4 Decree-Law 72/2008, 16 April 2006 (last amended by Law 147/2015, 9 September 2 015), available at:
Law 7/2009, 16 January 2019, approving the legal framework of insurances and reinsurances and
implementing Directive (EU) 2016/97, includes in Annex I, Article 2(a) minimal requirements such as age,
not prohibiting differentiation on this ground. Available at: https://dre.pt/home/-

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