8 March 2022

News from the conflict in Ukraine continues to dominate the media. Outlets report President Rebelo de Sousa’s calling of a meeting of the Council of State, the decision to open Portugal to refugees of all nationalities fleeing the war in Ukraine and the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee’s support for Ukraine’s EU membership. PM Costa is in Cape Verde, President Rebelo da Sousa praises RTP and Liberal Initiative (IL) want to rename the street on which Russia’s embassy stands.  

RTP, Expresso, Público, CNN PT and DN report President Rebelo de Sousa is to hold a meeting of the Council of State to discuss the possibility of Portugal sending troops to Eastern Europe as part of NATO forces and analyse “any additional position regarding what has already been done and said by the PM, FM, Defence Minister and also, occasionally, by the President of the Republic” following the earlier unanimous agreement of the National Defence Council to authorise the government’s proposals for Portuguese troops to join NATO readiness forces.

Público and CNN PT expand on a report in Lusa that Premiership Minister Mariana Vieira da Silva states the temporary protection for refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine recently announced by the Portuguese government and which initially only applied to Ukrainian nationals will now be extended to people of all nationalities, in line with EU policy

Público reports a meeting between Ukraine’s ambassador Inna Ohnivets, who accused Putin of genocide, and Sérgio Sousa Pinto, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, after which Pinto said “Ukraine signed its EU membership application in blood” and expressed his “solidarity with the Ukrainian people”.

DN carries an item on PM Costa’s visit to Cape Verde, where he acknowledged the “very deep relationship” between Portugal and its former colony as he signed a €96 million 2022-26 Strategic Cooperation Programme with the government in Praia.

Expresso reports the Liberal Initiative party (IL) has submitted a proposal to rename the street on which the Russian embassy in Lisbon is situated to Ukraine Street, arguing that this is not intended as a provocation to Russian diplomats in Portugal, but rather “a statement in support of the defence of freedom and democracy”.

Expresso and DN cite the Bank of Portugal stating that following a first assessment exercise it has discovered “a very small number” of Russian oligarchs targeted by EU sanctions with bank accounts in Portugal, adding that one of the banks targeted by sanctions is VTB, the second largest Russian banking group, which is a minority shareholder in the Portuguese Banco Finantia.

Expresso reports despite the escalation of the war in Ukraine and the European and North American sanctions on Russia, the movement of cargo from the Russian market into Portuguese ports continues with the news three Russian ships carrying energy products are due to arrive in Portugal this week.

Lusa and RTP cite Secretary of State for Internationalisation, Eurico Brilhante Dias, announcing Portugal is to send more staff to its embassies in Warsaw and Bucharest to help deal with the refugee crisis.

Dinheiro Vivo reports that the price of natural gas for delivery in April has increased by 27.5% over the weekend, reaching a new all-time high price of €335 per MWh in early trading yesterday.

Visão notes that according to data from the Iberian electricity market operator OMIE, the price of electricity will reach €544.98 per MWh today, representing a 23% increase in the average price of electricity on the Iberian wholesale market.

CNN PT reports Portuguese petrol companies refuse to explain why they have raised prices above forecast, leading observers to conclude that they charge whatever price they want to increase the margins.

DN cites Helder Pires, chairman of the supervisory board of Portugal’s bakery industry body, ACIP, claiming rising fuel and transport prices exacerbated by the conflict between Russia and Ukraine and the consequent increase in the price of cereals will “inevitably” result in increases in the final price of bread.

Negócios cites construction association AICCOPN warning the conflict in Ukraine is threatening Portugal’s recovery plan by causing a hike in the price of raw materials needed by the construction sector, which is also facing delays in the supply of industrial equipment and products.

Lusa and Público cite Labour Minister José António Vieira da Silva claiming Portuguese companies have made 13,600 vacancies available to Ukrainian refugees, with the tourism sector claiming Ukrainian refugees can help solve its labour shortage.

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