25 February 2022

The Russian invasion of Ukraine dominates all outlets. President Rebelo de Sousa met with the Ukrainian ambassador to Portugal then held a meeting of the Supreme National Defence Council. All parliamentary parties, with the exception of the PCP, have called for firm action against Russia, while PCP leader Jerónimo de Sousa has blamed the US and NATO for Russia’s invasion.

Público cites FM Augusto Santos Silva’s condemnation of Russia’s “intolerable and unacceptable act of armed military aggression”, with Expresso quoting the FM’s comments in support of PM António Costa’s long-held view “that Europe can no longer sidestep the issue of its excessive dependence on Russia in terms of energy”. RTP notes that PSD President Rui Rio called for the country to “fully assume its commitments and its responsibility” as a founding member of NATO, with FM Santos Silva stressing the importance of a “genuine consensus” on this issue.

Expresso reports President Rebelo de Sousa met with Ukraine’s ambassador to Portugal following which he reaffirmed his “vehement” condemnation of Russia’s “flagrant violation of international law”, with CNN PT adding the President called a meeting of the country’s Supreme National Defence Council, which authorised the initial deployment of up to 1,521 military personnel and equipment, including 7 fighter jets, to NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force and the Initial Follow-On Forces Group (IFFG).

Público says that the Presidency, the Government and Parliament – with the exception of the Communist Party (PCP) – all agree that Portugal should join NATO’s “deterrent” missions in Eastern Europe, participate in the economic and financial sanctions approved by the EU and welcome Ukrainians who wish to take refuge in Portugal.

RTP, DN and CNN PT all report Communist Party (PCP) leader Jerónimo de Sousa (pictured) claiming President Putin’s words and actions reflect those of a “capitalist country” and represent “an attack on the Soviet Union”, claiming that the invasion of Ukraine is “inseparable from decades of growing tension and confrontation” against Russia by the US and NATO and adding that it is America and not Putin who is waging a war.

Lusa reports a large demonstration in front of the Russian embassy in Lisbon protesting against the invasion and calling for an end to the war, while Lusa and RTP also report on vigils by Ukrainian citizens resident in Portugal in Evora and of people protesting in the streets of Faro.

Dinheiro Vivo and Negócios pick up a Lusa report that the European Council has called on the European Commission to move forward with “contingency measures” on energy supplies from Russia, and with EU heads of state and government also demanding “the swift preparation and adoption of a new package of individual and economic sanctions that will also cover Belarus” for facilitating Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Expresso quotes Nuno Lacasta, President of the Portuguese Environment Agency, stating “We have never had so much information and so much knowledge as now to face periods of drought in our country”, adding that the decision to suspend hydroelectric production in some dams was right, but that there remains much to do in a country that is “constantly in a water deficit”.

JN reports the cost of the water desalinisation plant planned for the Algarve coast between Loulé and Portimão that will provide 10% of the region’s potable water after it opens in 2025 will be met from Recovery and Resilience Plan funds.

Visão says Secretary of State for Finance João Nuno Mendes said the Cabinet has decided to sell the government’s controlling stake in Efacec Power Solutions to the DST group. The Northern Manufacturing Industries and Energy Union (Site-Norte), which represents Efacec employees, has said the company’s reprivatisation will  “damage the public interest”, arguing that keeping the company in public ownership was a matter of “national sovereignty”.

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