“We don’t need outside help”

On the day that 4.6 billion euros was wiped off the value of Portuguese shares on the Lisbon Stock Market, Portugal’s Finance Minister issued assurances that the country didn’t “need help”.

In a telephone interview with CNN’s Richard Quest, Fernando Teixeira dos Santos said that his government wouldn’t be going cap in hand for help to outside agencies such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“We don’t need any kind of outside help,” he said when asked by Quest if Portugal was planning to ask for some kind of bail-out from international institutions to reduce the deficit.

At the same time, in a further attempt to calm financial investors and the international money lending markets, President Cavaco Silva severely criticised the ratings analysts which had raised doubts about the sustainability of the Portuguese economy in meeting its financial loan obligations.

The university economist and former Prime Minister said that European Commission and financial agencies comparisons of Portugal with Greece were “way off the mark”.

“I am an economics professor and what I can say to external observers is that they are wrong and that they should have a closer look at our country and see the sustainability of our accounts and our ability to meet our financial obligations,” he said.

Fernando Teixeira dos Santos said that Portugal’s high public debt was “because of the crisis” but that it was “in line with the European average”.

He also said that his government was committed to bringing the deficit back to the three per cent stipulated by the EU’s Growth & Stability Pact by 2013.

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