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President calls Council of State before presentation of Portugal’s 2017 budget

Keeping a diplomatically low profile as Portugal’s economic standing is debated within the international press, President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has called a new Council of State, to take place two weeks before the 2017 State Budget is presented for approval by Brussels.

The meeting is designed to “analyse the political, economic and international financial situation and its repercussions in Portugal in the short, medium and long term”, a source has told negociosonline.

It is coming at a time when the economy is “showing signs of deceleration” and when exports – particularly to trouble-torn countries like Angola and Brazil – are reducing.

The complicated picture includes upwards-creeping public debt (click here) and sluggish internal growth.

It also sees orchestrated scaremongering in the international press, with constant stories on how Canadian ratings agency DBRS – the only one to peg national debt above the ‘rubbish category’ – may be losing confidence in Portugal.

As media stories like to stress, if this happens, the country’s access to ECB ‘easy money’ will dry up, and a whole new set of problems will emerge.

But in the interests of ‘not jumping the gun’, all that can fairly be said of this meeting on September 29 is that neither the Governor of the Bank of Portugal nor President of the ECB Mario Draghi have been invited this time round.

President Marcelo invited both to his second Council of State in July – creating another precedent within his unorthodox presidency.

Meantime, President Marcelo has been ‘flying Portugal’s flag’ on an official visit to Bulgaria, saying that of the conversations he has had with “various heads of State – and there have been about 10 of them… the large majority in the European Union”, he has gathered “positive feelings about Portugal” and “healthy expectations over the evolution of the economy and Portuguese finances”.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com