Focus on deficit reduction

Portugal should stay focused on the budget deficit reduction targets agreed with international lenders, said Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who believes that talks about new goals are “not a good sign”.

“I think it is important to stick to what we have now agreed within the programme, including the deficit targets. I do not think it is a good sign to keep the discussion alive as to whether the targets should be more or less,” he told journalists at a Eurozone finance ministers’ meeting, in Vilnius, Lithuania.

He said that he believes “the outside world should understand that Portugal and the Portuguese government are committed to what has to be done and to what has been agreed. That will aid the exit from the programme as soon as possible”.

Portugal’s Deputy Prime Minister Paulo Portas had defended at a parliamentary commission a deficit goal of 4.5% of Gross Domestic Product rather than the 4% agreed last week.