Portugal in EU Presidency spending splurge

 In EU Presidency, News

The online newspaper Politico has accused the Portuguese government of splashing out on thousands of euros for drinks, equipment and even clothes for events that are unlikely to be held in person.

The presidency spent €260,591 to equip a press centre in Lisbon – “even though the presidency’s press briefings are being held online and foreign journalists aren’t travelling to Lisbon”.
It has paid a wine company €335,785 for drinks “at a time when few people are gathering” and it signed a “€39,780 contract to purchase 360 shirts and 180 suits at a time when people are working from home”.
Watchdog groups have told Politico that the presidency has signed corporate sponsorships with “various companies, including some that appear to go against signature EU policies, and one that is known as a soft landing pad for Portuguese politicians,” this being a reference to an agreement with Portuguese pulp and paper giant The Navigator Company.
According to the article, Covid-19 threatens to transform Portugal’s moment in the EU spotlight into a ‘ghost presidency’ – but that hasn’t stopped Lisbon from what looks like wildly unnecessary spending in what it calls the “rotating presidency swag”.