In “Micro European”, a zoom will be made on Portugal, with the participation of Ana Pedro, a journalist based in Paris.
António Costa, Portuguese Socialist Prime Minister, leaves office amid corruption
António Costa, the man who has led Portugal since 2015, abruptly left his post on November 7. We talked about corruption, phone spying, etc. However, after his resignation, these eavesdropping operations appeared to relate to another person named Costa, another minister.
France Info: It appears that the wiretapping was not linked to the Prime Minister, but to another Costa…
Effective way. It’s a complete shock for Portugal. On November 7, the Prime Minister’s Office was searched. Shortly after, the latter announced: “In the current context, I have no other choice but to resign. “Then a cloud of confusion descended over the country. A week later, a shift occurred; The judicial system, which claimed to have irrefutable evidence against him, wrongly admitted that it was not him who was guilty, but Mr. Costa from the Ministry of Economy.
This is clearly a serious miscalculation
It turns out that a minister, an advisor to the Prime Minister, and his chief of staff are involved in a case of corruption and influence abuse. The case is known as the “influencer case” because it involves abuse of power to obtain mining rights for lithium mines, among other things.
Portugal is facing something scandalous already?
Indeed, that is the focus of this investigation, as well as other issues linked to a data centre, with green hydrogen production, but nothing directly targets the Prime Minister. The investigation will tell us. But right now, it is justice itself that is under criticism. Either due to incompetence, stupidity, or worse.
What place will Antonio Costa occupy in the future when he is considered the next president of the European Union?
Charles Michel dressed as the President of the European Council, which Costa was supposed to wear next. Today, her future depends on Portuguese justice. He must be completely exonerated. But will time be on his side? Antonio Costa was in Germany this week. He was visiting a small town where the Portuguese Socialist Party, of which he is a member, was launched during the dictatorship. Germany’s Social Democrats remain optimistic about their European future.
What about his future in Portugal?
In Portugal, his career appears to be over. The President of the Republic had the possibility of appointing a new prime minister or calling for early elections. The option of appointing a new prime minister would have been the most likely to be ratified, because the current government was elected in 2022 by an absolute majority.
However, the president chose to call early elections. The right-wing president has always felt the desire to raise the profile of his party. Opinion polls at the time of the dissolution showed a significant lead in favor of his PSD party. But it now appears that the country will enter a state of massive instability.
The president does not seem to rule out a right-wing alliance with the far right to gain power. So the country is entering a period of instability.
A difficult situation despite the good economic record
Paul Krugman, the Nobel laureate in economics, has just said that Antonio Costa has reduced harsh austerity while maintaining a stable budget. Thanks to this, the Portuguese economy was able to catch its breath.
In addition, Portugal prepaid its external debts. So Paul Krugman says: “It’s an absolute mystery.” »
Would a former prime minister come out with a very unflattering image of the president?
It’s a strange coincidence, because the book was released this week and includes memoirs by former Prime Minister Francisco Pinto Balsimao. He speaks of the current president in not very complimentary terms, citing his backstabbing and pathological need to always be in the spotlight.