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Portugal needs no new measures to meet deficit target

Staff writer ▼ | May 20, 2016
Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa said no additional measures would be needed to comply with the country's deficit target on Wednesday after Brussels avoided imposing a fine on Portugal for breaching budgetary rules.
Europe   Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa:
"The commission's previsions have been evolving, positively," he said during a visit to Lisbon's National Archaeological Museum. "We continue to be calm about the way the budget has been executed. We don't think there is a need for additional measures to reach the target we propose."

Costa has insisted that the country will reach its 2.2 percent budget deficit target this year, despite concern from Brussels after the country missed its deficit target last year of 2.7 percent, leading to the European Commission to even consider imposing sanctions on the country.

Portugal on Wednesday received good news from Brussels after the European Commission revealed it had postponed a decision to impose fines on countries which had missed fiscal targets.

Portugal's deficit was the third highest in the Eurozone in April, according to Eurostat, ending 2015 at 4.4 percent, due to resolution costs of bank Banif. The country missed its deficit target last year of 2.7 percent and is above the EU ceiling of 3 percent.

A center-left government led by Prime Minister Antonio Costa and backed by the Left Bloc and Portuguese Communist Party took office in November and has pledged to turn a page on austerity, raising alarm among European officials despite the government claiming it will abide by fiscal rules.

Portugal had to undergo harsh austerity under a bailout program it signed in 2011 but it exited the program after three years of austerity.