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Portugal on its way to the slaughter house

Still alive: The politics of structural adjustment

After some hesitations, the Portuguese government announced that it would seek support from the EU and the IMF. It did so in the face of systematic downgrading of Portugal’s creditworthiness by US rating agencies and rapidly mounting interest rates. The increasing pressures from the financial sector can be seen as part of the right wing election campaign. The Portuguese right wing parties have advocated harsh neo-liberal policies for a long time. Their position will be bolstered by the conditionalities of the EU/IMF programme. By Joachim Becker


The pressures on the Portuguese government to seek an EU/IMF programme mounted recently in a context of increasing political and social polarisation. The debt situation of the country did not deteriorate in any spectacular way. The share of public debt/GDP increased from 74.1% in 2008 to 92.9% in 2010. This is in line with average changes during the crisis years in the euro area where this ratio increased from 76.0% to 91.6% during the same period. According to OECD data, the Portuguese budget deficit of 7.3% of the GDP was not much higher than the average of the euro zone (6.3%) in 2010. Portugal’s debt situation is not exceptional ...

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