US stands with Portugal over economic reforms

By DAISY SAMPSON [email protected]

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has praised the efforts of the Portuguese government for its raft of austerity measures aimed at preventing further economic turmoil in the country and stated that the US will “stand with” Portugal in relation to future reforms.

During a meeting between Hillary Clinton and the Portuguese Foreign Minister Paulo Portas on September 27 in Washington, she spoke of how the US had been “impressed” by existing austerity measures and admitted that although these are challenging times nobody should doubt that “we have the ability to get through this”.

“I want to say very clearly that the Portuguese people and the Government of Portugal have demonstrated impressive resolve in putting aside political differences to implement difficult austerity measures that are helping to stabilise the Portuguese economy, but also to set it up for long term economic success,” said Hillary Clinton.

She added: “The United States will stand with Portugal as it continues to make economic reforms that return Portugal to the path of growth and sustainable opportunity for Portugal and the Portuguese people.”

During the meeting Paulo Portas reiterated the strong alliance between Portugal and the US and outlined how he believed that Portugal was a unique case in the world while the government aims to “honour its word “and is making a “tremendous effort to recover its autonomy”.

He said: “We are a very specific case and our attitude as a country, as a nation and as a government is to meet our goals on the fiscal consideration and economic reform, to honour our commitments and to fulfil the programme with the EU and IMF.

“At the end of this very tough programme Portugal will be a success story.  Portugal will deliver.”

Paulo Portas added that Portugal should not be compared to other countries facing similar problems: “Portugal is a different story because of the attitude that we have in the country and that attitude is to fulfil the program.  We will win this battle against the debt.”

Meanwhile Portugal was also praised for playing a “key diplomatic” role in North Africa and the Middle East during the Arab Spring and for the work of Portugal in Afghanistan where Portuguese troops help to train and mentor Afghan Security Forces.