PM takes control of “European affairs”

Responsibilty removed from new ‘head of diplomacy’

In a move seen as yet further indication PM António Costa wants a hefty position in Europe when his time at the head of the Portuguese government is over, he has taken full responsibility for what is termed “European Affairs” in the new executive.

‘European Affairs’ traditionally are part of the brief of the country’s head of diplomacy (soon to be former defence minister João Gomes Cravinho).

But for the next four year term they will be the exclusive responsibility of the PM, who is in Brussels today attending the NATO summit on Ukraine.

And for the next week, Mr Costa will be standing in for outgoing minister for Foreign Affairs, Augusto Santos Silva, as he takes contends for the job of the ‘second most powerful’ politician in the country, that of parliamentary president.

This latest development has been announced today by President Marcelo, who explains the position is transitory “to guarantee there is no interruption in external policy” until the new government is sworn in on March 30.

It also makes perfect sense at what is being billed as a ‘monumental NATO summit’ (attended by the president of the United States) that the prime minister has all the powers he needs to represent the country in whatever decisions emerge.