The government is expected to announce a raft of measures later today designed to reduce the effect of successive increases in the cost of fuel.
According to reports, the finance ministry was working through the night on the formulas to be used – one of which looks likely to be a subsidy for diesel used when it comes to passenger transporters (very similar to the ‘green diesel’ already attributed to goods vehicles).
An extension of the exemption on IUC (road fund tax, currently at 37%) is also thought to be in the offing for goods transporters.
But following a day where – in some cases hundreds of – ordinary citizens joined up for ‘hooting protests’ in their vehicles in various regions, there doesn’t seem to be much in the offing to help everyday drivers.
Prime minister António Costa meantime has had very little luck in Brussels, where UE leaders are meeting for a summit which is overshadowed by the whole fuel cost problem, but on a much larger scale.
He, and President Marcelo, had hoped for some ‘leeway’ given regarding ‘margins’: right now the government maintains it has no margins to reduce taxes on fuel, and could only do so with agreements at a European level.
But yesterday’s talks saw the EU ‘turn its back on Costa’, reports Correio da Manhã in a short leader column today.
“António Costa wanted to lob the solution for fuel price increases to the EU, but Europe has turned its back returning the responsibility to Member States”, says the paper.
The text explains the EU is much more concerned at this point with the rising cost of gas, bearing in mind that much of it is supplied by Russia.
“Costa has ended up like a babe in arms”, suggests CM. “Every week he has to pray that the price of fuel doesn’t skyrocket on international markets, and every week he will have to cope with protests from consumers and businesses”.
It is all starting to look horribly like history repeating itself.
In the very shot term, we wait to hear the government’s ‘contingency measures’ as a new law, published in State newspaper Diário da República, sets “maximum profit margins” that fuel suppliers will be allowed to get away with.