Arab Today, arab today portugal signals imfeu approval for latest austerity
Last Updated : GMT 23:03:36
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Portugal signals IMF-EU approval for latest austerity

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Arab Today, arab today Portugal signals IMF-EU approval for latest austerity

Lisbon - AFP

The Portuguese government is signalling that it has reached an agreement with IMF and EU creditors on its latest radical austerity measures to correct public finances, after the constitutional court struck down some of the proposed policies. In saying late on Sunday that it had satisfied the conditions of the International Monetary Fund and European Union, Portugal sent a message that it is able to pass the seventh audit of its accounts and reforms by auditors from the IMF, European Commission and European Central Bank. That would open the way for the release of the latest instalment of bailout funding of 2.0 billion euros ($2.6 billion) under the rescue programme of 78 billion euros agreed for Lisbon in May 2011. Portugal hopes that in turn this will enable its EU partners to soon confirm their agreement in principle to grant Portugal an extension of the delay for repayment of the rescue loans. The government issued a brief statement after an exceptional cabinet meeting which said: "The cabinet met to be informed of the conclusion of the seventh evaluation and to confirm the conditions needed to conclude it." Portuguese Finance Minister Vitor Gaspar will present the results of the audit to his counterparts in the eurozone when they meet in Brussels later on Monday, the statement said. The latest audit began at the end of February but lasted longer and was more difficult than the previous audits. This was mainly because at the beginning of April, the constitutional court rejected several of the measures in the national budget for this year which included unprecedented tax increases. Consequently, Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho put forward measures to compensate for them in order to reduce public spending permanently by 4.8 billion euros by 2015. The measures are also intended to enable Portugal to respect its commitment to creditors to reduce its budget deficit to 5.5 percent of gross domestic product at the end of this year, to 4.0 percent next year and to below the EU ceiling of 3.0 percent in 2015. The latest measures include the shedding of 30,000 civil servants out of a total of 700,000, an extension of working hours for civil servants from 35 to 40 hours per week and a delay in the age qualifying for a full pension from 65 to 66 years.

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