In another ‘silly summer story’, national tabloid Correio da Manhã reports today on the failure of President Marcelo’s bid for transparency over an Air Force flight taken to Lyon to attend Portugal’s Euro semi-final game against Wales, less than a week before the national team steamed to glory in Paris.
Marcelo made a point of explaining how he would be paying €6000 for his place on the flight, to show the country that he was not expecting any favours due to his position as Head of State – despite the fact that his hectic schedule left him with no other way of getting to the game on time.
But, according to CM, the Air Force is not allowed to receive payments from private citizens or entities.
Thus, faced with President Marcelo’s cheque for the trip, it was in a quandary.
“The cheque was then sent to the Ministry of Defence, which then sent it to São Bento” (prime minister António Costa’s official residence).
A bit like a theatrical game of pass the parcel, Costa was left to make a decision – which he has now done.
President Marcelo’s trip “constituted an act of representation of the State of Portugal”
An official statement in suitably flowery language, added that “the furnishing of Air Force means for service journeys complies with a mission of public interest”.
Thus, “there exists no motive whatsoever” for the “holder of the rank of President of the Republic to support the costs of such a trip, whatever means of transport may be used”.
CM concludes that President Marcelo’s cheque has been returned to him.