Government delays sending Portugal’s draft budget to Brussels

As the nation’s state of political limbo prompts more high level meetings today, national media is reporting the decision to delay sending Brussels Portugal’s draft budgetary plan for 2016.

The move is seen as a way of “piling on the pressure” for a prompt resolution to the governmental crisis.

National tabloid Correio da Manhã has led the stories, publishing a letter sent by Finance minister Maria Luís Albuquerque to European commissioner for Economic Affairs Pierre Moscovici.

The letter claims there have been “material alterations that prompt the updating of macroeconomic predictions subjacent to the budgetary trajectory” presented in April.

“This government considers this revision should be decided by the new government, resulting from the legislative elections”, Albuquerque is understood to have written, adding: “The current government reiterates its commitment to budgetary discipline assumed under the 2015-2019 Stability Programme, as much this year as for next”.

It is a document that CM claims will “serve as the basis of discussions later today between the President (of the Republic, Cavaco Silva) and Socialist leader António Costa, to reinforce the idea of the necessity to comply with budgetary guidelines”.

Portugal’s draft budgetary plan should be delivered by Thursday this week, adds the paper, stressing that the new government – whatever shape it eventually takes – will have 90 days to present its final State Budget for 2016.

Intriguingly, Albuquerque’s letter is said to have been written a full two days before the ‘ambiguous results’ of the October 4 elections.

Thus it is clear how aware all parties were of the likelihood of political impasse.

According to CM, the PSD/CDS coalition have since spent the weekend “reading the PS election programme” to try and come up with “solutions” for the three parties’ meeting tomorrow.

Meantime, national media is buzzing over the likelihood of Costa’s bid for a left wing government, with leader writers scoffing that he has “been watching too much television” while stories point to serious rifts within the Socialist party over any possible deals with the further left PCP and Bloco Esquerda (BE).

Costa was due to meet with BE negotiators this morning, while the idea of a future alliance of left wing parties may be put to the vote within the PS, writes CM.

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