Portugal’s new government favours tougher sanctions against Russia

By Thomson Reuters May 15, 2024 | 6:08 AM

LISBON (Reuters) – Portugal’s new government is keen on ramping up sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, Environment and Energy Minister Maria da Graca Carvalho said on Wednesday.

The centre-right minority government took over last month, after a narrow win in a March 10 election that ended eight years of Socialist rule.

The European Commission’s next sanctions package is expected to propose restrictions on Russian liquefied natural gas (LNG) for the first time, including a ban on trans-shipments in the EU, according to a document seen by Reuters.

This would not directly bar Russian LNG imports to the bloc, but would ban provision of re-loading services by EU facilities for trans-shipment of Russian LNG to third countries.

“In general, the Portuguese government is aligned with the European Union’s energy policies, namely with the measures that aim to ensure our strategic sovereignty … just as it is in favour of toughening sanctions” to pressure Russia to end the invasion, the minister said in a statement sent to Reuters.

She declined to comment specifically on the preliminary version of 14th sanctions package that needs to be formalised by the Commission and then approved by all member states in the Council.

(Reporting by Sergio Goncalves; Editing by Andrei Khalip and Alison Williams)