4 March 2022

Ukraine continues to dominate all outlets. President Rebelo de Sousa explains why he will not say more about the war in Ukraine and says he will convene a Council of State when the time is right. Outlets note the country has thrown its doors open to Ukrainian refugees and that the drought was debated in Parliament. A PCP leader accuses President Zelensky of bombing civilians and of ethnic cleansing and the PSD is to have another meeting to decide the date of its internal election. 

Expresso, Público and CNN PT expand on a Lusa report that President Rebelo de Sousa is considering calling a Council of State in “due course” in the event the government decides to “take an additional position” on the Russian military offensive in Ukraine, adding that in relation to the war he must be “very careful” about what he says.

Lusa cites an item in the Government Gazette (Diário da República) announcing 95.5% of the country is experiencing severe or extreme drought, which has triggered the adoption of additional support measures without outlining what these measures may be. RTP says that during a debate in Parliament on the drought, the government stated the country has enough potable water to last two years. RTP also cites Environment Minister João Pedro Matos Fernandes telling MPs that Portugal and its people will have to adapt to the fact climate change means the country will receive less rain.

CNN PT and DN report the Social Democratic Party (PSD) National Council met last night and agreed to meet again on 14 March to approve the date of the election to choose the party’s new leader and congress.

Expresso leads with the news Portugal has opened its borders to all Ukrainian refugees who want to enter and that 142 applications, mainly from people between the ages of 18 and 34, have been processed. The Office of the Secretary of State for Integration and Migration confirmed that “the country is open to all Ukrainian refugees, without any limit”. DN adds the Interior Ministry report it has so far received 672 requests for refuge from Ukrainian citizens, 530 since the simplified entry requirements were introduced two days ago.

Público quotes João Oliveira (pictured), parliamentary leader of the Communist Party (PCP), both accusing the EU of “pouring petrol on the flames” of a conflict that began long before last Thursday, and claiming Ukraine’s President Zelensky authorised the bombing of civilians in the Donbas region and of “condoning the ethnic cleansing” of Russian-speaking Ukrainians.

Lusa and Expresso report the main Portuguese index (PSI20) closed down 88 basis points on a day of heavy falls on European stock exchanges, adding that it still performed better than its European counterparts.

RTP and Espresso say industry prices rose by more than 30% in January due to the almost doubling of energy costs, with oil now at a 10-year high and the price of natural gas breaking records every day. The Iberian electricity market (Mibel) will hit a record high this evening at a price of €410 per megawatt-hour. CNN PT claims a combination of the effects of the drought, the war in Ukraine, EU sanctions on Russia and the high price of natural gas are responsible for soaring electricity prices.

Público reports that the war in Ukraine is showing how bumpy the road to energy transition will be as the desire of governments to find a balance between the immediate economic costs and future severe environmental costs, the conflict, sudden price variations and drastic changes in the way countries assess their energy dependence looks set to guarantee future energy transition policies will be more fickle and will advances, retreat and adapt depending on short-term conditions.

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