Despite acknowledging the “considerable risks” faced by Portugal, Passos Coelho said the country couldn’t expect others to solve its own problems. He also promised not to hike taxes but didn’t go into much detail about future measures.
The Portuguese government will not hike taxes but will do whatever is needed to fulfill its budget targets without looking to others to solve its problems, Portuguese prime minister Pedro Passos Coelho said in his state of the nation address, stressing that the government would not give up on its “big goals”.
I want to reaffirm this: the government is not, at this time, preparing any tax hike or any other similar measure”, Passos Coelho said when an opposition lawmaker urged him to disclose the measures the government would apply to meet its budget targets.
Although the Portuguese prime minister did not offer any further information on the measures, he said they would be “the least harmful possible to the Portuguese”.
The government “is preparing what it has to prepare for the fifth [troika] assessment because we know there are political risks involved”, the prime minister said.
Admitting the Portuguese consolidation plan carried “considerable risks”, Passos Coelho ruled out renegotiating the terms of the €78bn bailout agreement and added that Portugal had to continue setting an example to Europe.
We must not think our problems should be solved by others,” the Portuguese prime minister said before adding that the government would not give up on the “big goals”, namely the credibility effort of the budget process.
As the 2013 national budget is now being prepared by the government, Passos Coelho promised to take into account the decision of the Constitutional Court that ruled the suspension of civil service holiday and Christmas bonuses illegal in 2013.
However, he stressed that government decisions would be made in accordance with budget goals set in the memorandum of understanding signed with the international lenders.
When invited by the prime minister to participate in the bailout agreement‘s fifth review and the preparation of next year’s budget, socialist – and main opposition party – leader António José Seguro declined.
Your ideological agenda is making consensus even more difficult in our country,” Seguro said, stressing that Passos Coelho’s choices are not his and “are not, and never will be” those of the Socialist party.