Portugal prepares for new round of austerity measures
Things to only tighten in one of Europe's poorest nations
Portugal, one of the poorest nations in the European Union is set for unrest with the announcement of its 2013 budget. Austerity measures are expected to be among the most stringent following Lisbon's 78 billion euro bailout. The presentation is expected to draw hordes of anti-government protesters. Police expect a big protest outside the parliament as many Portuguese demonstrate that their stoic acceptance of austerity, once much admired, has turned to anger.
Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho will announce the new budget, expected to be filled with still more steep tax increases and public sector job cuts .
Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho will announce the new budget, expected to be filled with still more steep tax increases and public sector job cuts . Coelho abruptly faces the kind of popular backlash that was, until recently, been very much absent from the political and social landscape in Portugal.
Taking a page from the playbook of their Spanish neighbors, protesters are planning to encircle the Parliament building for the budget announcement. For their part, Portugal's powerful trade unions are preparing a general strike for Nov. 14. Arménio Carlos, the leader of the CGTP union, compared Mr. Passos Coelho to Pinocchio, accusing him of constantly changing his austerity message.
"It's clear that the amount of good faith the government enjoyed has been turned into large skepticism and distrust," said Pedro C. Magalhães, a professor of politics at the University of Lisbon.
Portugal's Finance Minister Vitor Gaspar has described the planned tax increases as "enormous" and can amount to nearly two to three months' wages for middle income workers.
Economists fear the extreme measures could push Portugal into a recessive spiral like Greece. This would further undermine Europe's German-inspired austerity drive for the euro's highly-indebted countries.
Portugal had shown a relatively high level of political consensus and has been supportive toward cutting costs for the bailout it sought in 2011.
Support has been dwindling since September. The main opposition Socialists is now pledging to vote against the budget when it is put to parliament at the end of the month.
Portugal's economy is expected to contract by at least three percent this year and the government expects a contraction of one percent in 2013.
Unemployment is already at record highs, with joblessness now above 15 percent. The government expects it to rise to 16.4 per cent next year.
© 2012, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
- - -
Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Portugal, austerity, entitlements, taxes, euro zone, Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Europe News
- Historic Meeting between Pope Francis and Coptic Patriarch, Tawadros II, Fosters Christian Unity
- Pope Francis Shakes up the Ambassadors Meeting and Addresses Economic Issues
- AU CONTRAIRE! Economic crisis has been 'pulling European public opinion apart'
- Pope Calls Whole Church to Encounter Jesus Christ Personally Through the Holy Spirit
- France ponder one percent 'Internet tax' to fund domestic computer production
- Pope Francis Canonizes 802 Saints: 800 Martyrs of Otranto and Two Latin American Foundresses
- Growth in Number of Catholics Worldwide, Along with Priests and Deacons
- Scientists confirm that Roman Empire was destroyed by plague
- Unemployed youth in Greece now above 60 percent
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?