President rules out extraordinary measures

Portugal’s president Cavaco Silva has said that the Government can only reduce the state’s deficit through structural reforms and cuts.

He made the statement only 24 hours after signing a document which allowed the Government to keep to the 2011 deficit through the extraordinary measure of transferring bank pensions from private hands to the Government’s social security fund.

Cavaco Silva made it clear that it was the “last time” he would allow such an extraordinary measure.

On the president’s official website, he said that the measure had been “exceptional” and could “not be repeated” but had been allowed because it had been a compromise that had been accepted by the ‘Troika’.

In his statement, Cavaco Silva made it clear that in future the deficit can only be met through “current structures” and “structural reforms” and not be “dependent on extraordinary measures”.

The president’s statement came one day after his New Year’s message to the Portuguese in which he stressed the importance of economic growth and employment generating schemes as well as budgetary strictness.

He said that without policies aimed at economic growth, Portugal’s social situation “could become unsustainable.

The president also mentioned “social cohesion” and called for a “fruitful dialogue” with social partners (i.e. the unions) on measures to improve company competitiveness.