3 March 2022

Media cover PM Costa meeting with Ukraine’s ambassador, President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa emphasising the importance of Europe remaining united and awarding the National Health Service the country’s highest honour. The Communist Party (PCP) hits out at claims it supports Putin, the Left Bloc (BE) deny reports it abstained in the vote to provide aid to Ukraine and the Social Democratic Party (PSD) meet to decide the date of its leadership election. 

Expresso and CNN PT cite President Rebelo de Sousa speaking on Ukraine’s accession to the EU and on a request from Inna Ohnivets, Ukraine’s ambassador for “special sanctions” against Russians with Portuguese nationality, saying it is important that while each country “has its own position” on this matter it is also important “not to have bilateral positions, but European positions”. The President refused to comment on a request from the Ukrainian ambassador that Portugal sever relations with Russia, saying only that it is the government, and not the President, that conducts foreign policy.

Lusa, RTP and Público report President Rebelo de Sousa has awarded the country’s highest honour, the Military Order of the Tower and Sword, to the National Health Service for its “selflessness and heroism” in fighting the pandemic.

CNN PT and DN note that the Political Commission of the PSD will meet today to approve the dates of the direct elections to choose the next party president and congress.

RTP cites PCP parliamentary leader João Oliveira rejecting as “an aberration and an absolute falsehood” reports that the PCP supports Vladimir Putin, adding that the party’s repudiation of Russian action goes “far beyond Putin’s military offensive” in Ukraine.

Expresso and Público quote Left Bloc MEP José Gusmão denouncing as “fake news” reports published in the Portuguese media yesterday claiming the party abstained from voting on a European Parliament motion condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Negócios and Público report that the European Commission is prepared to reassess its proposal for the deactivation of the escape clause of the Stability and Growth Pact scheduled for the end of this year and to keep the rules of budgetary discipline suspended in 2023, in order to guarantee member states the necessary margin to intervene if the war in Ukraine causes a very sharp deterioration in the economic and financial situation of the EU. European Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis says a decision on any future reimplementation of the budgetary rules will be made in the spring.

Expresso says Portugal’s public debt increased by €2.8 billion to €272.4 billion euros, which the Bank of Portugal says “essentially reflected debt securities issues worth €3.1 billion”.

Público reports Portuguese oil company Galp advised the Portuguese Securities Market Commission of its intention to “suspend all new purchases of oil products from either Russia or Russian companies” because of the invasion of Ukraine.

Dinheiro Vivo carries data published by OMIE, the nominated electricity market operator for the Iberian Peninsula’s day-ahead and intraday electricity markets (Mibel), that shows the average wholesale price of electricity will reach €341.06 per megawatt-hour in Portugal today.

Expresso cites António Costa e Silva, appointed by PM Costa to coordinate Portugal’s Economic and Social Recovery Plan, stating the energy transition must not penalise natural gas in the same way that fossil fuels such as coal and oil are penalised, otherwise the energy crisis of 2021 and 2022, which has led to an increase in energy prices worldwide, will be repeated in the future, adding that gas should be “part of the equation, in combination with renewable energies”.

Dinheiro Vivo cites National Statistics Institute data showing the unemployment rate in Portugal rose to 6% in January, an increase of 0.2 percentage points compared to December 2021, although this is a 1 percentage point fall when compared to January 2021.

Negócios, Dinheiro Vivo and Expresso all cite a Bank of Portugal (BdeP) report claiming a total of €94 million worth of escudo banknotes had not been exchanged by the deadline, with the money set aside by the BdeP being handed over to the state in the form of dividends.

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