Portugal’s president talks of “total disaster” if Greece leaves the euro

Cavaco Silva has drawn his line in the sand, saying it would be a “total disaster” for Greece if the country left the euro. Talking on television on Wednesday, his comments came just as a source for the Greek government alleged that the tough stance taken this far by Portugal and Spain was all to do with “internal politics”.

As Greek MEP Dimitrios Papadimoulis told Lusa this week, he feels “a large part of the Portuguese people” support the position of the Greek government.

Lusa added that he stressed it was necessary to understand that the position was “not one of countries, but of Mariano Rajoy and Passos Coelho”.

“Rajoy has a nightmare that is called Podemos (the party of Pablo Iglesias which continues to rise in the polls) and Passos Coelho has pressure from opposition parties,” he said.

“It is not my role to judge prime ministers but I fully understand the reasons that make them do what they are doing now. It is not in the interests of their people. It is in the interest of their political careers.”

Nonetheless, Cavaco Silva has stressed the “total disaster for Greece if it were to leave the euro”.

The head of state added that he feels Greece is beginning to “learn about the functioning of the European Union” and that it has “started to change its positions since coming to power”.

“I hope it continues to correct them,” he added, “so that it can reach an agreement in the Eurogroup meeting, in its dialogue with the (European) Commission and in the meeting with the European Council.”

As Cavaco presented his opinions, Dimitrios Papadimoulis said his government was “hugely optimistic” that an agreement over Greece’s debt-load was likely soon.

Meantime, Expresso reports that Portugal’s Finance Minister Maria Luís Albuquerque will be meeting her German counterpart Wolfgang Schäuble next Wednesday. Will it be the next instalment of the series “Portugal is not Greece”, Expresso queries.

By NATASHA DONN [email protected]