Strike triggers fuel crisis in Portugal

Fuel-tanker drivers in Portugal have been on strike since Monday and shortly before Easter fuel supplies are running low, with long queues at petrol stations. The government in Lisbon has declared an energy crisis and suspended public transport in many cities. Commentators are unhappy with the authorities' reaction.

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Jornal de Notícias (PT) /

Ministers need geography lessons

The government has negotiated an emergency supply of fuel with the trade unions. Jornal de Notícias is incensed that it will only be available in the big cities:

“The fact that the drivers are only obliged to maintain emergency supplies in and around Lisbon and Porto disregards the Portuguese who live far away from the major hubs. ... This also exposes a country in which all opportunities are being used to deepen the asymmetry between the inland and coastal areas. ... Now we can only hope that our ministers are ordered to take a lesson in geography and study the map of Portugal once more so that they realise that the country consists of more than just two metropolitan areas.”

Público (PT) /

Government must defend rule of law

Público calls for a hard line against the strikers:

“The effectiveness of the strikes took the government completely by surprise. ... This surprise effect is part of the strategic character of these almost anorganic movements. ... Like the yellow vest protests in France, these actions are planned to test the limits of the law. All the government can do is bear the political costs and try to cushion the negative repercussions by insisting on adherence to the law. ... In democracies there may always be leeway for new forms of trade union organisation - but there must be no place or tolerance for threats to the rule of law.”