Former finance minister says Portugal “could and should” be doing better

Former finance minister Maria Luís Albuquerque has been in Athens at the invitation of Greece’s New Democracy party discussing her experiences in power, and drawing comparisons with events in Greece.

A fierce critic of the PS government’s anti-austerity policies, she said Portugal’s economy was currently worse than it “could or should be” – stressing “various economic indicators” in free-fall after “years of economic recovery”.

But she told her audience that she was “an optimist”

The PSD-CDS alliance toppled from power late last year had “always told people the truth”.

“We need courageous politicians who tell the truth”, she stressed – suggesting the PS government’s economic strategy was not delivering what the party had promised.

Albuquerque’s 20 minute speech was just one of the ‘government-bashing exercises’ that got underway this week.

On Wednesday, the Financial Times laid into the ‘doom loop’ situation that could to be taking the country towards a second bailout – stressing that this time round, the IMF may not be keen to get involved (click here).

And today, European Commissioner Pierre Moscovici was featured in financial papers breathing fire and brimstone, saying it was “fundamental” that the process of ‘partial suspension of funds to Portugal and Spain’ should “advance rapidly” – as a result of the countries’ failure to meet excessive deficits targets.

“There is no time to lose”, he told journalists in Bratislava.

The way ahead lies with “dialogue between the European Parliament and the Commission”, explains Lusa, suggesting a calendar for these talks will be drawn up in the next two weeks.

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