Country reports


Expert author: Cristina Farinha
Last update: April 17th

National government

Under the slogan “We are not stopped. We are ON”, the Portuguese Government has been slowly but timely announcing some exceptional support measures for the cultural sector. Despite this good news, the actual procedures and timings for implementation of some of these measures, notably when actual payments will take place, are still unclear.

  • Closure of all cultural venues and events: museums, monuments, and all other cultural venues , sites and events are closed and/or cancelled since mid-March, until further evaluation. There was an appeal to city authorities in order to implement strategies that favour, whenever possible, the postponement and rescheduling of the shows that were cancelled.
  • An Emergency Support Line for the Arts of EUR 1 million was announced by end of March to promote the development of projects for future implementation. The fund intends to help artists and organisations in a situation of greater vulnerability and without any financial support. It will be financed through the Cultural Development Fund to support artistic creation in the performing arts, visual arts and interdisciplinary approaches of all entities.
  • The Directorate-General for the Arts (DG Arts) will maintain its financial support to approved projects which have been deferred due to COVID-19 related developments. It was announced that maintaining the total budget of EUR 3 million is guaranteed, already included in the state budget for 2020.
  • The Ministry of Culture launched a sector specific website dedicated to the measures approved by the Government targeting the cultural sector.
  • The collaborative platform “Portugal entra em Cena” (Portugal gets on the scene), was developed by the Ministry of Culture to match private companies with artists and cultural agents’ ideas and projects, enhancing the cultural offer in the context of COVID-19, while promoting direct and immediate investment in the cultural sector.
  • The Portuguese Institute of Cinema and Audiovisual (ICA) will maintain the calendar for grant applications and, whenever possible, will speed up application processes, with a view to distribute funding packages as quickly as possible. The rules for specific formal demands in the evaluation of ongoing processes have been relaxed; there is, for instance, no need to verify limits to private funding when validating eligible expenses. Regarding exhibition, ICA will allow for cinematographic works to be initially released on TV or through VoD services – requests that will be examined on a case by case basis, and that depend on the authorization of the producer. In March, the investment obligations of exhibitors was suspended.

Moreover, the Government has created a series of general support measures to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 including, inter alia, social protection and postponement of social security payments. It spans support to entreprises (SMEs) and employment combined with a package of social measures, including for independent workers and families with children, for which the cultural sector agents and artists are eligible.

Civil society

Private organisations

Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation Emergency Fund Covid-19

On March 23rd, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation approved an emergency fund with an initial amount of EUR 5 million, which aims to contribute towards strengthening the resilience of society across the main areas of intervention of the foundation: health, science, civil society, education and culture. Regarding the cultural and artistic sector, the fund entails: emergency support to artists or artistic production entities that have seen their projects cancelled or in areas to which the foundation commonly grants support in the form of the partial replacement of lost earnings and contributing towards meeting living costs; maintaining and rendering more flexibility to support either already granted or in the process of approval, including their redefinition and rescheduling, so as to guarantee the endurance of the production structures most affected.

GDA Emergency Fund

Early April, the artists’ collecting society GDA “Gestão Direitos dos Artistas” announced a EUR 1 million fund to ensure “essential needs” for artists: EUR 500 thousand applied immediately by the GDA itself, another EUR 500 thousand to integrate a larger fund, open to other participations and destined to artists and other professionals of the performing arts and audiovisual. GDA will also increase the amount of duties charged for social and artistic creation programmes to 25%. Moreover, it declared it will pay in advance, already in April and May, about 50% of the rights of 2019 in the fields of audiovisual and phonograms (music).