Portugal’s government on Thursday welcomed the announcement by the European Commission that it had upgraded its forecast for this year’s growth in gross domestic product to 1.6%, slightly above the government’s own estimate.
“It means that those who were saying only a short while ago that Portugal was in a recessionary spiral are not right, that the government’s forecasts are correct ones and give meaning to the sacrifices that the Portuguese made for these three years, and that we have, as we’ve always said, a prudent optimism that the situation will keep on improving,” the defence minister, José Pedro Aguiar-Branco, told journalists in Brussels.
The minister was speaking in a break from a meeting of ministers from member states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.
Portugal is “on the right road” where economic policy is concerned, Aguiar-Branco said.
However, the commission estimated a budget deficit for last year of 3.2%, well above the 2.7% projected by the government and the 3% limit for euro-zone members beyond which special measures apply, albeit lower than the commission was previously estimating.
Opposition parties said the stronger growth was above all thanks to lower prices for oil and other raw materials on international markets and had nothing to do with government policy.
The governing Social Democratic Party said it expected that the commission would in time fall into line with the government’s forecast for the 2015 deficit, making it possible for Portugal to leave behind the EU’s excess deficit proceedings by the end of this year.
The European Commission has upgraded its estimates for growth across the board, in the euro zone and the European Union as a whole.
ACC/ARO // ARO
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