According to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Augusto Santos Silva: “Portugal will not have political representation at the opening or closing ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games, and we are also coordinating with the other European states on this matter, but we will not have political representation at the opening or closing ceremony”.
Santos Silva, who was speaking to journalists after participating in a meeting of EU Foreign Affairs ministers, justified his absence for “several reasons”, including “the political moment in Portugal” and “the European Union’s own sense of unity” during the current "circumstances", also admitting the weight of the fact that the Winter Olympic Games are not, "from a sporting point of view, the main national sports”.
After, last week, the European Parliament called for a diplomatic and political boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics, in the face of China’s attempts to “legitimise its authoritarian system”, Santos Silva confirmed that “there is a coordination going on [among the 27], obviously respecting all the interests of each Member State”.
“For example, I know that some European States will be represented at the level of Minister of Sport, given the dimension of their sporting representation. Others will only be represented at ambassadorial level”, he said.
“We understand that representation at the ministerial or member of government level would not be the appropriate solution,” he concluded.
Several countries, including the United Kingdom, United States, Canada and Australia, have announced a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Games, without harming the participation of athletes from these countries, in a bid to denounce alleged human rights violations in China. The European Parliament also recommended to member states a “diplomatic and political boycott of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics”, which take place between 4 and 20 February.