Bloomberg News

Portugal Can Beat ’Difficult Crisis,’ Prime Minister Coelho Says

October 24, 2011

Oct. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Portugal’s Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho said he’s confident his country will be able to beat a “very difficult crisis” as long as it complies with the terms of a 78-billion-euro ($108 billion) bailout program.

“We have the conditions to tread this path with success,” Passos Coelho said today at a conference in Lisbon, broadcast by SIC television. He said Portugal’s success also depends on Europe’s ability to find its way.

In April, Portugal followed Greece and Ireland in seeking emergency aid from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. The government is cutting back on spending, raising taxes and selling some state-owned assets to meet the bailout conditions.

The austerity measures have weighed on the southern European country’s economy, which the government forecasts to contract 1.9 percent this year and 2.8 percent next year. Passos Coelho said other European nations have in the past managed to overcome the challenges Portugal is facing, citing Ireland as a “cautious” example.

“Nobody is saying Ireland will end up like Greece,” he said.

Portugal will have to pay about 8 billion euros of interest on loans next year. That explains why Portugal will end 2012 with a primary budget surplus and at the same time have a budget deficit of 4.5 percent of gross domestic product, said Passos Coelho.

--Editors: Jim Silver, Kevin Costelloe

#<659699.3550614.2.1.95.14779.25># -0- Oct/24/2011 19:36 GMT

To contact the reporter on this story: Henrique Almeida in Lisbon at halmeida5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Angela Cullen at acullen8@bloomberg.net


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