Portugal’s recent history, transforming itself into the “good student” of the European Union and the world of market economy after half a century of isolationism in a fascist dictatorship, could be a good example for other countries to follow. This is the opinion of the Russian Director of the Institute of Radio-engineering, Electronics and Automatization of Moscow (IREAM), Serguey Sigov, when he says “we can learn a lot from them”. This statement comes in the wake of increased collaboration between Portuguese and Russian Universities. Minho University, in the north of Portugal, has started a programme of collaboration with the IREAM. Under the European Union programme TACIS, Minho University provides support by offering courses in Economics and Finance to Professors of IREAM. Portugal has been the focal point of many visits from eastern European delegations in recent years, studying how this country managed to improve its economic performance so drastically in the last 25 years, since the Revolution of 25th April, 1974. Since 1985, the Portuguese average earnings have risen from 53% of the EU average to 75%. The implementation of EU programmes has been a model, in a country with extreme difficulties – it was recently reported that 25% of the Portuguese population is either illiterate or semi-literate. Such is not the case in eastern Europe, where the educational programmes followed in the last half-century are generally regarded by all to be examples of excellence. Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey, Pravda.Ru, Lisbon

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