22 February 2022

All outlets focus on events in Ukraine and the PM and President’s condemnation of Russian actions and messages of solidarity for the people of Ukraine. Rui Rio accuses PM Costa of being asleep at the wheel in relation to the drought. Two Chega councillors have been expelled from the party for supporting PCP council budgets, and party leader André Ventura has had his Twitter account suspended for the ninth time.

Lusa reports that PM Costa has issued a strong condemnation of Russia’s recognition of two separatist-controlled regions in Ukrainian territory and expressed his “total solidarity” with the people of Ukraine. CNN PT adds that President Rebelo de Sousa condemned President Putin’s actions while leaving a special message of support and solidarity for the people of Ukraine and for Ukrainians living in Portugal.

Público, Jornal de Notícias and Visão pick up a Lusa report on PSD President Rui Rio’s visit to the Alto Lindoso dam in the north of the country, where he accused PM Costa and his government of “being asleep at the wheel” in allowing the dam to reach its lowest ever level during the drought. He said the government should have done more to prevent EDP from using the dam to generate “more energy than it was possible to produce given the drought situation we are in”.

Expresso reports that while Rio would like to engage with the PS to produce constitutional reforms, he has confirmed he will not be the leader of the party, “so it will be for the next leader to decide whether or not to engage in the constitutional revision process”. DN notes that at a meeting last Saturday, the PSD National Council decided it would like the election for Rio’s successor to be held within the next three weeks, but notes Rio may still be hoping to negotiate some reforms with PM Costa and could seek to continue in office beyond June or July.

Expresso, Público and DN all report on right-wing populist party Chega withdrawing political confidence from two councillors in the towns of Sesimbra and Seixal who had voted in support of budgets proposed by the Communist Party-controlled councils, with party leader André Ventura saying the councillors had acted “in direct violation of the party’s rules of not engaging in pacts with parties that have destroyed Portugal”. DN notes that one of the councillors had already left the party in December. CNN PT reports that Twitter has suspended André Ventura’s account for the ninth time after he had tweeted statements about “uncontrolled Islamic immigration, which can be a danger to the European Union” alongside an image of a terrorist attack.

Dinheiro Vivo published data from the Institute for Employment and Vocational Training that show the number of unemployed who are registered at job centres increased by 2.3% to 355,868 in January compared to December, noting that this represents a fall of 16.1% compared to the same month in 2021.

Negócios reports that employers in various sectors of the economy are experiencing difficulties hiring and retaining people as orders increase and absenteeism rates rise. Companies are having to offer significant wage increases that sometimes raise the lowest wage paid to levels well above the national minimum wage. Meanwhile, Visão cites the governor of the Bank of Portugal Mário Centeno, who said his main concern is whether rising inflation will generate second-round effects on wages, which, he points out, is not yet the case in the eurozone.

Visão reports that the Swiss energy supplier EKZ and promoter Smartenergy are to invest €32 million in a solar power plant near Palmela, south of Lisbon, that will be capable of supplying 26,000 homes per year.

Expresso notes that Galp Energia has stated it intends to double the electrolysis capacity to produce green hydrogen at Sines to 200 MW, with the final investment decision expected by the end of next year, according to the company’s presentation sent to the Securities and Exchange Commission. 

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