They came, they saw… and they left “without the feeling of mission accomplished”.
Troika lenders have had to accept that Portugal’s coalition government will not be doing anything more in the way of structural reforms before the autumn elections, writes Económico website.
Even though there are huge issues ahead – not least the requirement to cut a further 600 million from pensions – last week’s second post-programme evaluation went ahead in a haze of vague pleasantries.
“There will be an agreement”, the delegation was assured, “after the elections”.
But “the doubts persist”, stressed the site, with lenders still calling for further measures of consolidation.
Always ready with a riposte, deputy PM Paulo Portas reacted after the week-long visit, saying “Portugal no longer depends on the advice of the IMF” or any of the other lenders, and that “positions taken by the technicians” enforcing post-bailout consolidation were “often wrong”.
Be that as it may, the IMF has reported that Portugal runs a “tangible risk of not attaining its deficit target for this year if there are no further cuts in expenses”.
It has also poured cold water on the government’s growth predictions, saying they are “too optimistic”.