João Vacas

Of Counsel | Lisbon

Practice Areas
Competition, Regulatory and EU
ESG – Environmental, Social and Governance
  • English
  • Spanish
  • French

João Vacas is a member of the board of directors of the Knowledge Institute.

Of Counsel at Abreu Advogados since 2019, works as a legal consultant mainly on issues related to EU and public affairs, research and training.

He has extensive experience in European matters, namely on policy and legislation at the formulation, negotiation and adoption levels and a clear understanding of the interactions with and among EU institutions, Member States, companies, other non-state actors, and citizens.

As a Technical Counsellor of the Portuguese Permanent Representation to the EU in Brussels, João represented national interests in negotiations within the Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER I) and various working groups of the EPSCO – Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs – and the EYCS – Education, Youth, Culture and Sport – configurations of the Council of the EU and took part in the Council’s meetings as a member of the national delegations.

João also led the cabinet of and provided legal and political advice to Members of the European Parliament on all their parliamentary duties, including Constitutional affairs, Development, and Foreign Affairs committees and the Human Rights subcommittee’s activities, focusing also on Portuguese-speaking countries and territories and their relationship with the EU.

As an Invited Professor of the Institute for Political Studies of the Portuguese Catholic University, he initiated and teaches the BA course “Portugal and the EU”.

While working as a lawyer, João’s main area of practice was intellectual and industrial property, mainly disputes in connection with cases relating to the validity of trademark rights.


Advising Members of Government and the Ambassador Deputy Permanent Representative before, during and after Council of the EU, informal Ministerial and COREPER I meetings.

Analysing, monitoring and following-up on political and legislative developments at EU level, ensuring the overall coordination of legislative and non-legislative proposals and policy files.

Providing political and technical input for the preparation, formulation and development of national positions; coordinating with ministerial cabinets and several departments of the Portuguese Administration.

Negotiating and drafting relevant legislative and non-legislative EU documents.

Providing political and legal counsel on all parliamentary duties to members of the European parliament.

Participating in the coordination of several winning candidacies to the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.


University of Lisbon, Faculty of Law

Licenciatura em Direito pela Faculdade de Direito da Universidade de Lisboa (1998)

University of Lisbon, Faculty of Law

Post-graduate on Political and International Sciences from the University of Lisbon, Faculty of Law (2000)

Centre Européen de Recherches Internationales et Stratégiques

Master of Arts in International Politics from the Centre Européen de Recherches Internationales et Stratégiques in partnership with University Paris-Sud 11 (2014)

Camões Institute and Bologna University

Post-Colonial Studies Course from Camões Institute and Bologna University (2009)

Portuguese Catholic University

Advanced Programme in Political Studies from the Institute for Political Studies of the Portuguese Catholic University (2010)

Portuguese Catholic University

PhD candidate at the Institute for Political Studies of the Portuguese Catholic University (resumed in 2018)

Portuguese Military University Institute

African Studies Course from the Portuguese Military University Institute (2019)