News / Europe

Portugal Approves Austerity Budget

Portuguese members of the main opposition center-right Social Democratic Party (Foreground L) stand up to abstain during the final vote of the Portuguese government's 2011 state budget proposal, 26 Nov 2010 in Lisbon
Portuguese members of the main opposition center-right Social Democratic Party (Foreground L) stand up to abstain during the final vote of the Portuguese government's 2011 state budget proposal, 26 Nov 2010 in Lisbon

Portugal has become the latest European nation to trim social welfare spending and raise taxes in an effort to control its burgeoning national debt.

Portugal's minority socialist government on Friday approved a 2011 budget that will cut public spending, including the wages of government workers.  It also will increase the country's value-added tax by two percentage points, to a maximum of 23 percent.

The Portuguese parliament's action came amid new international financial worries that the sovereign debt crises that started in Greece and Ireland could spread.  The next debt problem could afflict Spain, which accounts for nearly 12 percent of the economic production of the 16 nations that use the euro as their common currency. Spain's economy is about double that of Greece, Ireland and Portugal combined.

But Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero told a radio interviewer that he could "absolutely" rule out a financial bailout for Spain like those in Greece or Ireland.

The Portuguese government is hoping that with approval of the austerity measures it will not have to seek a bailout from its European partners and the International Monetary Fund. The budget aims to cut the country's deficit from 7.3 percent of its overall economic production this year to 4.6 percent next year.

Lisbon has repeatedly said it does not want or need international financial assistance.  However, some international financial analysts have suggested that Portugal should accept loans earlier rather than later, to stem fears that it could be the next country to be forced to accept a bailout.  Ireland also denied it needed financial help until it relented last Sunday and asked for assistance.

With their debts, Portugal and Spain have both been forced to pay higher interest rates to attract investors to buy bonds to finance their operations.  The interest rate on Portuguese bonds increased to 7.1 percent Friday, more than four percentage points higher than the interest paid on bonds sold by Germany, one of the strongest European Union economies. Spain's notes are 2.7 percentage points higher than Germany's.

Portugal's largest opposition party, the Social Democrats, abstained from voting when the austerity measures were approved Friday, as it had earlier agreed to do.

Meanwhile, Irish financial negotiators continued their talks with EU and IMF officials in an effort to conclude details of the Irish government's $115 billion bailout ahead of Monday's reopening of world financial markets.

 

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

You May Like

Mugabe Dismisses Male-Female Equality

'It is not possible that women can be at par with men' incoming African Union president declares on eve of summit More

Somali Terror Suspect's Light Sentence Raises Questions

Abdullahi Yusuf, 18, could have spent 15 years in prison but judge instead sentenced him to a halfway house, and a program to try to integrate him back into the community More

Video Kobani Ravaged Following Kurdish Ouster of IS Militants

Even so, hundreds of refugees sheltering in Turkey seek to return; Kurdish forces hold some back, saying fighting continues More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Productioni
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Production

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid