The Secretary of State for European Affairs this Wednesday expressed full agreement with the five political priorities identified by the upcoming Czech Presidency of the European Council, highlighting issues of support for Ukraine and the energy transition.
The priorities of the Czech presidency will eventually become the priorities of the Portuguese government for the next six months. We hope that the Assembly of the Republic will follow this path,” said Thiago Antunes at the opening of the parliamentary debate on the priorities of the Czech presidency.
The Secretary of State for European Affairs began by setting the priorities of the executive branch in Prague for the second half of this year: managing the refugee crisis and the post-war reconstruction of Ukraine, energy security, strengthening European defense and cyber security, the strategic sustainability of the European economy, and the resilience of the democratic institutions of the European Union.
According to a member of the Portuguese government, the first priority is continued military assistance, humanitarian and financial to Ukraine“with the application of sanctions against Russia and its allies.”
“The European Union is facing the biggest wave of refugees since the Second World War, and the Czech Presidency proposes to mobilize and coordinate all the necessary resources for the reception and integration,” especially of children, he said.
Speaking about energy security, Thiago Antunes mentioned “the difficult but fast path that the European Union has already covered in a short period of time.”
“The war in Ukraine has demonstrated that the European Union cannot depend on Russia for energy supply, and the mission of the Czech Presidency will now be to achieve progressive and rapid autonomization and modernization in the energy sector. Portugal has all the conditions to become a central player in the energy transition,” says the European Affairs portfolio holder.
In his opening remarks, Thiago Antunes also mentioned the goals of the Czech Republic to strengthen European defense, namely through partnership with the Atlantic Alliance, in which he highlighted the issue of cyber security in preventing attacks.
The Secretary of State for European Affairs then spoke. “European problem of vulnerability” in the face of global supply chainscontrasting with the need for reindustrialization, and highlighted the “disturbing reality of inflation in all Member States”.
Regarding the sustainability of democratic institutions in the European Union, the fifth goal of the Prague government, Thiago Antunes noted that this is the least related priority to the war in Ukraine.
“But this will certainly be one of the most frequent topics in European debates in the near future,” he added.
During the debate, PSD MP Sergio Marques accused the Portuguese government of adopting a position of “restraint and reluctance, almost opposition to granting Ukraine candidate status, changing its position only at the last minute so as not to be speaking in private.”
Then Andre Ventura, the leader of Chega, accused the PS of “failing to decide” on Ukraine’s accession to the European Union.
PS MP Kapulas Santos said his party “could not disagree with the priorities of the Czech presidency” but wondered if the “European Union” would survive the impact of the new enlargement.
In turn, MP Bernardo Blanco from the Liberal Initiative said that regarding the priorities of the Czech presidency, the party “fully agrees with the first priority regarding Ukraine”, but refused to depend “on countries that pose a great geopolitical risk.” .”, such as Russia or China.
Communist Diana Ferreira believed that “the goals that are adopted in this presidency in matters of energy or energy security are to protect the interests of big capital” and believed that “solving these problems is not at all a priority.”
Mariana Mortagua of BE asked for flexibility in the entry of refugees into the European Union, as happened with Ukrainians, criticizing the “absolute hypocrisy of double ‘standards'”.
In the same vein, PAN sole deputy Inés Souza Real refused to allow the European Union to treat people fleeing war “as first and second class refugees”, while Livre’s sole deputy Ruy Tavares questioned whether the Portuguese government would support a joint refugee resettlement program in the European Union.”