14 February 2022

The annulment of votes in the European constituency in the recent elections features prominently in many outlets. Over the weekend, much of the media carried the Foreign Ministry’s advice for Portuguese citizens to leave Ukraine, while this morning some sources report President Rebelo de Sousa’s call for calm and dialogue. PCP leader Jerónimo de Sousa has called for more to be done to help people with the cost of living crisis and for better water management to combat the effects of the drought. 

This weekend, Público, CNN PT, Sol, TSF and Dinheiro Vivo all featured advice from the Foreign Ministry against travel to Ukraine with the added recommendation that Portuguese citizens currently in Ukraine should “leave temporarily”. This morning, Lusa and RTP report President Rebelo de Sousa responding that “dialogue is fundamental for building peace” when asked about the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. 

In a comment piece in Expresso, former PSD leader Marques Mendes says that Portuguese troops will be stationed in Romania as part of NATO’s response to escalating tensions in Ukraine. He said the “decision was made during the middle of the electoral campaign, with the agreement of the government, president and opposition leaders”. Former Deputy PM Paulo Portas is quoted In CNN PT claiming Putin knows exactly what the weaknesses of other European countries are and the “signs are clearly worrying”, adding “Putin has already gone so far that it is hard to imagine him doing nothing”.

Lusa, Público and DN all note PSD president Rui Rio accused Interior Minister Francisca Van Dunem of considering it normal for valid votes to be “deliberately” mixed with invalid ones at the Europe constituency counting tables and deploring the Interior Ministry’s refusal to accept responsibility for the annulment of more than 80% of the votes in that constituency. Expresso, Público and DN all note Van Dunem’s regret that so many votes were considered null and void following a complaint by the PSD, adding that this does not reflect the “enormous effort” made by the Electoral Administration to ensure the “largest possible participation” in the election.

RTP and Expresso report Communist Party (PCP) leader Jerónimo de Sousa’s call for policies to respond to the rising cost of living by regulating the price of essential goods and services. In relation to the drought affecting most of the country, he also called for the management and administration of public water resources to be put in the hands of local authorities or the state. Lusa and Expresso also quote him accusing the PS of having forced a rupture with his party over the 2022 State Budget solely to satisfy the “demands of big capital”.

Público says the government will meet with experts at the National Authority of Medicines and Health Products (Infarmed) on Wednesday to discuss a possible easing of measures to combat the Covid-19 pandemic at a time when there is a decrease in new infections.

Expresso picks up an interview with the president of the European Central Bank, Christine Lagarde, in the German newspaper Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland, where she says she believes raising interest rates is not a solution to the current inflation problems, insisting such action “would not help anyone”. She goes on to say inflation will remain “relatively high” in the coming months but should decline over the year.

Público and Expresso note that Vodafone has reported that its voice, data and television services have been stabilised and that it continues to collaborate with the authorities investigating last week’s cyberattack.

Público reports the Volkswagen Autoeuropa plant has offered employees a 2% pay increase in exchange for the loss of some benefits in order to secure 1,000 jobs that had been threatened at the plant as a result of the computer chip problem.

Expresso mentions an assessment by the European Systemic Risk Board which has analysed the property markets in all EU member states, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, and which notes that the risk the housing market represents for Portugal’s economic stability is medium and that the “current overvaluation of property prices” is not caused by the allocation of credit.

DN notes that the president of the Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Association says Portugal “has the opportunity” to position itself ahead of other countries, “taking advantage of and consolidating the crypto-friendly environment due to initiatives such as Web Summit and the creation of several tech hubs”.

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