by Joaquim Martins Lampreia

“In terms of legal frameworks, there are no specific rules or registers concerning pressure groups or their activities. The same goes for individuals, being consultants or ex-politicians.

So, who are the lobbyists in Portugal?

At a first level, they are all people working for pressure groups: NGOs, corporate associations or Unions, fully recognized in the Portuguese Constitution; their number can be estimated of around 300 active persons.

At a second level, there are about 50–60 external Consultants, with different backgrounds. About half are lawyers, from the main law firms, with good connections to Government. Normally they work at direct and top lobbying level (also known as inside lobbying).

The remainder are ex-politicians, who had in the past a seat at Government or Parliament, and offer their services, based on a good network of influential people and political decision makers. Normally they also work, like the lawyers, at a direct lobbying and top lobbying level.

There are also about a dozen people with a Communications background, who work in the Public Affairs department (or so called Institutional Relations department) of the biggest PR Consultancies. They mainly work at the grassroots level, using the Media, Internet, events and so on, and putting pressure on decision makers through the mobilization
of public opinion.

What happens frequently for a foreign company wanting to implement a lobbying campaign is to hire a law firm for the contacts and negotiations with Government (direct and top lobbying) and, at the same time, to hire also the services of a PR Agency, to give visibility to the whole process (grassroots lobbying).”

(from chapter 25, on the lobbying industry in Portugal)