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Portuguese report Portuguese report
by Euro Reporter
2011-11-10 08:43:17
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Portugal doesn't need bailout funds boost

Portugal, one of three eurozone countries to receive an EU-IMF bailout, does not need more money to address its debt burden, eurozone chief Jean-Claude Juncker said Wednesday. EU, IMF and European Central Bank officials are currently in Lisbon to review progress under the 78-billion-euro ($57 billion) bailout deal agreed to in May, which requires stiff austerity measures in order to balance the public finances.

"I don't think Portugal needs a higher amount than the 78 billion. I'm convinced this is not needed, but I would be against increasing this amount," said Jean-Claude Juncker, who heads the group of eurozone finance ministers. "There will never be a euro without Portugal," Junker added following a meeting with Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho. Coelho's centre-right government has previously called on the EU, IMF and ECB to adjust the terms of the deal, but has not called for more funds.

"Some technical adjustments are needed but not any major adjustments... I can't say we would be in favour [of] less efforts or more money. The targets have to be respected", Junker said. Lisbon needs the all clear from the EU, IMF and ECB to receive the next 8-billion-euro loan instalment. Under the terms of the deal, Portugal needs to reduce its public deficit from 9.8 percent of Gross Domestic Product in 2010 to 5.9 percent by the end of 2011, but it stood at 8.3 percent earlier this year, putting that objective in doubt. Passos Coelho government's has already tabled a tough 2012 austerity budget, but the spending cuts that have already been executed pushed the economy into recession, making achieving its recovery targets even more difficult. "We are very happy with Portugal's efforts," Junker said.


Portuguese transport workers strike over austerity

A strike by Portuguese public transport workers shut down national train services and the Lisbon subway Tuesday in the latest major protest against austerity measures designed to reduce the country's crippling debt burden. Staff at the state-owned rail company Comboios de Portugal and the Lisbon subway walked off the job during the morning rush-hour. Bus and ferry workers were also due to stop work later in the day. The center-right government is locked into a program of pay cuts and tax hikes in return for a euro78 billion ($107 billion) bailout Portugal needed earlier this year to avoid bankruptcy.

The government is also curtailing workers' entitlements in an effort to make the economy more competitive. The country went into a double-dip recession this year, and the economy is forecast to keep contracting through 2012 when the unemployment rate is predicted to reach a record 13.4 percent. The austerity measures, and plans to rationalize loss-making public transport companies, have angered trade unions. Portugal's two main trade union confederations also plan a general strike Nov. 24. The government says public transport companies together have debts amounting to euro17 billion -- around 10 percent of annual gross domestic product -- and are on the verge of financial collapse. Public transport has long been heavily subsidized in Portugal, one of western Europe's poorest countries where the average monthly salary is around euro900 a month before tax.


Prime Minister reaffirms commitment to bailout targets

Portugal Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho reaffirmed Wednesday that the country is fully committed to reaching all the targets under its EUR78 billion ($106 billion) international bailout. "Portugal is doing its part," Passos Coelho said after a meeting with Jean-Claude Juncker, Luxembourg prime minister and head of the grouping of 17 euro-zone finance ministers. Juncker is in Lisbon for a two-day visit that ends Thursday.

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coelho the bankers butler2011-11-13 19:27:48
f*ck the bailout, rule for the people not the bankers

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