PM downplays Brussels’ broadside over Portugal’s State Budget

Prime Minister António Costa appears convinced that Brussels’ doubts over Portugal’s ability to deliver on targets in its new State Budget will “disappear” over the first few months of 2018 – “just as they did in 2016 and 2017”.

Talking to journalists yesterday (Wednesday), Costa suggested Portugal wouldn’t only achieve its objectives, but exceed them – again, he stressed, just as his executive managed over the last two years.

The long-running verbal tussle with Europe spiked after commissioners cited Portugal as one of five countries which they consider to be at risk of “failing to comply with rules of the Stability Pact”.

Most concerning is Portugal’s ability to reduce its public debt (at 130%, the third highest when it comes to GDP in Europe) and what Brussels’ sees calls its ‘adjustment trajectory’.

Also cause for alarm is the amount of bad debt held by Portuguese banks, explains RTP.

For now, this is just another of the many broadsides that have been largely brushed off – not only by the government and its allies, but by the President of the Republic as well.

President Marcelo said last night that the “invitation” to Portugal to take “necessary measures” to ensure compliance of its financial objectives was just more of “the usual advice” that Brussels gives at this point in the year.

Leaving the “Portugal Exportador 2017” seminar in Lisbon, he highlighted the positive side of words spoken by Pierre Moscovici, European commissioner for finance and economic affairs, in which he spoke of Portugal being “on the right path”.

“It really is”, said Marcelo, adding: “we have to continue on this path which is the only way that serves the Portuguese people”.

According to reports, the other countries in danger of budgetary slippage are Italy, Slovenia, Austria and Belgium.

[email protected]