Portugal to further cut public services

Lisbon, April 19 (IANS/EFE) Portugal said it planned to cut all public services by 800 million euros ($1.04 billion) and achieve another 500 million euros ($652 million) in savings to meet its deficit target in the wake of a Constitutional Court ruling that threw out several austerity programs.

The measures were hammered out during a Council of Ministers meeting that continued into the early morning hours, officials said Thursday.

The cuts were agreed to with the delegation from the Troika – the European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund – visiting Lisbon, the government said.

The actual cuts by sector have not been determined and must be presented to the opposition, which is against further austerity, business leaders and unions, officials said.

The cuts add up to 0.50 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) and will allow Portugal to receive a new tranche from the 78 billion euro ($101 billion) bailout package, as well as getting more time to repay loans to the EU and IMF, the government said.

“There is going to be pressure on public services because everyone is going to have fewer resources than projected in the 2013 budget,” Cabinet chief Luis Marques Guedes said in a press conference.

–IANS/EFE

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