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Portugal measures ‘progressing’ despite challenges: EU

Published on 15/03/2012

Implementation of a rescue programme for Portugal is "progressing at a good pace", but challenges remain, EU Economics Affiars Commissioner Olli Rehn told Portuguese lawmakers on Thursday.

Portugal passed a review last month by the European Union, European Central Bank and IMF with the so-called “troika” approving an installment of aid worth 14.9 billion euros ($19.45 billion).

Portugal last year became the third eurozone country after Greece and Ireland to be bailed out, receiving a package worth up to 78 billion euros in return for a commitment to reform its economy and impose an austerity measures.

“The implementation of the programme is progressing at a good pace … But challenges remain, both internal and external,” Rehn said in a speech to the Portuguese parliament.

Rehn added that “despite the achievements so far, the necessary fiscal adjustment is not yet accomplished,” adding that there are a “number of areas where further work is necessary”.

Rehn stressed that the structural reforms to the economy were a “cornerstone of the programme and the only viable path towards growth and employment”.

“The broad political and social support is key to the success of the programme going forward,” Rehn told the lawmakers.

Rehn also noted that he was “conscious of the fact that access to credit for households and small and medium-sized enterprises is currently difficult,” but that adjustments by banks in Portugal were inevitable.