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Portuguese PM opposes Greek debt renegotiation

Published on 30/01/2015

Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho said Friday he opposes any debt-renegotiation for Greece as demanded by the new anti-austerity government in power in Athens.

Syriza, the far-left party that won Sunday’s Greek general election, wants an international creditors’ conference for Greece, along the lines of the meetings that drew up the London Agreement in 1953 that gave generous debt relief to West Germany after World War II.

“I will not support any conference which may be proposed to cancel or restructure the debt by appealing to the solidarity of the European people,” he said during a debate in parliament.

“That would go against the interests of Portugal and the Portuguese people,” the centre-right prime minister added.

“I respect the decisions of the Greek people, just as I respect the decisions of the Greek government, and I hope the decisions of the Portuguese people and government will be respected in Greece.”

The day after Syrizia’s election victory the Portuguese prime minister dismissed the party’s election promises as “a fairy tale”.

Portugal exited a 78 billion euros ($88.6 billion) bailout program in May 2014 after imposing three years of austerity which included hefty tax rises and cuts to pensions and salaries for civil servants.

The austerity measures sank the economy and caused unemployment to soar but the economy has returned to growth.

The Bank of Portugal estimates the economy will expand by 1.5 percent, boosted by a rise in exports, after growing by 0.9 percent last year.

Finance Minister Maria Luis Albuquerque announced last week that Portugal will be able to repay IMF bailout loans early after regaining access to financial markets.