PS dubs Passos’ Christmas speech as “lies and fantasy”

In a characteristic huff, the opposition Socialist party has accused Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho of lying in his upbeat Christmas Day speech to the people.

What he said was a “form of Christmas story, with no connection to the day-to-day life of the Portuguese and without any positive consequences”, PS politician António Galamba told newspapers, adding that what the prime minister failed to say was far more important bearing in mind that the State Budget for 2014 “contemplates more cuts and more austerity”.

Joined in his criticism by other parties – particularly the PCP communists and the Left Bloc – Galamba also lamented the fact that the President of the Republic Cavaco Silva failed to send the state budget to the Constitutional Court for fiscal checking.

Meantime, the coalition parties’ Council of Ministers met yesterday to discuss alternatives to the pension cuts vetoed by the Constitutional Court just before Christmas. Options on the table included cuts to ministerial budgets and a hike in the current rate of IVA – already among the highest in Europe, but no announcement is expected before Cavaco Silva’s New Year speech next week.