Miguel A. Lopes/ Lusa

Rui Rio warns that “brutal sanctions” against Russia could rebound on Europe

PSD leader Rui Rio has warned that brutal sanctions imposed against Russia could rebound on the rest of Europe.

A little like the stand from communist leader Jerónimo de Sousa (click here), Mr Rio may have missed the point.

Prime minister António Costa has already labelled Russia’s military attack on Ukraine as “a war against democracy”.

It goes without saying that economic pain in such a scenario has to be preferable to tyranny and dictatorship.

To be fair, Mr Rio – who ‘resigned’ as a result of January’s lacklustre election results, but whose successor has still to be chosen – has intimated that he is in favour of a third level of sanctions, but believes they should be taken after the effects of the first two levels have been “properly studied”.

“We may be bursting, if one permits the term, to destroy the Russian economy, but we need to be prepared because this also is tough for us. We have to measure exactly what it is that this means. And if we decide to take on (new sanctions), we need to prepare countermeasures or an antidote at the same time to protect the European economy”.

The outgoing PSD leader also seemed to be saying that it wasn’t up to Portugal on its own to offer ways and means to support refugees (as is happening): this should be done through international alliances and multilateral institutions, he said – stressing: “there is nothing like a situation such as this for the population to understand the importance of a military association like NATO”.

Tweeting in the aftermath of Mr Rio’s comments, PSD MP Duarte Marques said: “I am starting to fear the political and reputational consequences for the PSD of this individual continuing to speak in the name of my party”.

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