After all, the Secretary of State and Foreign Affairs was not surprised that Portugal was removed from the UK’s Green List. It was Augusto Santos Silva himself who said Wednesday morning to deputies of the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee.
“I was not surprised, the British government has always had the courtesy to inform them of the decision they are taking, which is a sovereign decision, and there is no diplomatic discussion,” he explained. “But this idea that I was surprised to find its way, it is not a surprise but I did not agree with the British decision on the arguments presented,” he said.
Santos Silva repeated what he had already said after the decision in London. That there was no doubling of the transmission rate and that the number of cases referring to the so-called Nepalese variant in Portugal, at the time of the decision, was only 12.
The head of diplomacy was cautious. He pointed out that after the British removed Portugal from the green list and due to the transparent update of the numbers, Madeira, after three weeks, began to receive British tourism. “Diplomacy does a lot, but the fact that Madeira has 23 cases makes a difference that no diplomat can ignore, and our work against the virus and its variants,” he explained. He concluded: “It is not diplomacy, but the numbers and the interpretation of the numbers that are important.”
About the emergency brakes introduced by Germany on the eve of the entry into force of the European Union’s digital certificate of vaccination Thursday 1 July. He pointed out that “it is a federal law of direct application, except in exceptional cases that are regulated, such as emergency brakes that must be notified 48 hours in advance.”
“Advisor [Merkel] He linked the rise in Covid-19 cases in Portugal to allowing the British to enter the Portuguese territory of the champions in Porto, when the increase in numbers was taking place in the Lisbon metropolitan area, Valle do Tejo and in the Algarve,” he reiterated.
Then Augusto Santos Silva pointed in an arrow to the PSD to a surprise. “I was surprised by the main opposition leader, and my countrymen, on the issue of Germany,” he said, referring to the doubts expressed by Rui Rio about the work of Portuguese diplomacy.
Regarding the possibility of Portuguese immigrants residing in the UK and Germany arriving in Portugal for holidays, the minister reiterated the conditions: a digital vaccination certificate or a negative Covid test 72 hours in advance. “Signs of the new variant, which are largely present in the United Kingdom, are proliferating by 50% in Portugal and are increasing in Spain, France and Germany,” he noted.
Talk to the Russian ambassador
On the second item on the agenda, and also at the request of the PSD, the head of Portuguese diplomacy commented on the contact of the Lisbon City Council with the personal data of those calling for a demonstration to various embassies.
There, yes, there was reason for astonishment when, on June 10, at the commemoration of Portugal Day in Madeira, he heard in the press what had happened, and then specifically with opponents of Vladimir Putin. “On the 10th of June I did not make any predictions [quanto ao comportamento da embaixada da Federação Russa], he said that there had been no diplomatic incident, that the error had been corrected and that the Russian authorities had incorrectly received data and that they must comply with and eliminate international data protection standards.
“I spoke with the Russian ambassador and there was no need for any other initiative,” he explained. In fact, he recalled the statement issued by that embassy. “data [remetidos] By the Lisbon Chamber it was not used by the diplomatic representation or sent to the capital.
However, he highlighted one aspect, which is the application of the same scale to all countries. He stressed that “No, we should not transfer personal data to the embassies of foreign countries, the violation of data protection rules with friendly countries is illegal.”
As a matter of confidence, he concluded that the embassies more than once addressed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to demand that demonstrations against the policies of their countries should not be allowed. “We make it clear that the right to demonstrate in Portugal is free and that there are no licenses,” he said.
And when foreign diplomats are battling security problems, he added: “The person who assesses the security conditions in Portugal is not a foreign country, but our security forces.”