It is common to say that Portugal is a country of emigrants. And so it is, because deep waves of emigration in concrete and defined moments of our history, with different destinations and of different typology, have given a significant dimension to the Portuguese Communities around the world, even generating, since then, more than second and third generations.
Portugal will have around 2,5 million inhabitants residing abroad permanently. The same is to say that over 20 to 25% of people born in Portugal have been living abroad for at least more than a year. But it should be added, because it is true, that we have more than 5 million Portuguese and Portuguese descendants in the world. It is thus a "small country" with a "giant diaspora". And their number is very significant in the four corners of the world, in countries such as France, Switzerland, USA, Canada, Brazil, Spain, Germany, United Kingdom, Luxembourg, Venezuela, Belgium, South Africa, Australia and others. On the cape or even in lands beyond the end of the world there is a Portuguese who speaks Portuguese.
Many of those who remain outside or intend to return are entrepreneurs and can also be influencers of our interests as a nation. To the ease of integration of Portuguese emigrants in the host countries, add the evident facts of not losing their connections to the Portuguese soil and culture, as well as the fact that many of them have come to have influence, if not even representation, in the institutions of those countries.
It is more than manifest the strategic potential of entrepreneurship in our Diaspora, with the capacity for investment and initiative, and the incentives and support for the much needed help to the development of the country can be clarified. It is crucial to mobilize them, therefore, beyond everything else, as economic agents, in the search for opportunities at national, regional and local levels.
Because this may be the time to test, to the limit, the readiness to build a truly inclusive society. It is not enough to say and do - in a piteous and clogged way so many times, the integration through participation that ends in electoral acts. Political citizenship may, of course, have been an important breakthrough in order to guarantee the wide range of other dimensions of citizenship that are now required.
Not paying attention and due consideration to the Portuguese Communities around the world, as central elements of our foreign (and internal) policy, removing them from the agenda of this time or not realizing their importance - past, present and future, would be a mistake of lesa-homeland.