The Minister of Foreign Affairs assures in an opinion article that the cost of the Portuguese presidency of the EU will be 10% lower than the amount spent in 2007.
Augusto Santos Silva has written an opinion piece in the Diário de Notícias explaining the reasons behind some of the costs of the Portuguese presidency of the Council of the European Union, after it was reported by Politico.eu last week. The European newspaper described the presidency as a “ghost” and questioned the spending of thousands of euros. In response, the minister of foreign affairs guarantees that the total cost of this presidency will be 10% lower than in 2007.
“Even then [in 2019] the goal was set to reduce its overall cost by 10% compared to the total spent on the 2007 presidency. This objective will be largely surpassed”, guarantees Santos Silva, explaining that the international summit with India will be “significantly smaller” than in 2007 and that the fact that “an important part” of the events will be virtual generates “obvious savings”. However, a “hybrid presidency also requires additional costs in certain areas”, he admits, mentioning the case of the press room that had to be prepared to be operational in case there are presidential meetings, which the minister foresees will happen in the second quarter.
As for the direct agreements signed between the Portuguese presidency and several companies, Augusto Santos Silva justifies the use of this option by the “specificity of many services, which limits the availability in the market, aggravated by the pandemic” and by time constraints, “it being unimaginable that the EUPP could be held hostage to the slowness and litigation so often associated with contracting through public tender. The minister also explains that the few months of the existence of the companies hired by the presidency are explained by the “transformation of the corporate nature of a provider with previous activity (an individual provider that became a sole proprietorship company and a company that has since expanded its corporate base).”