"We can only be optimistic about 2017 as to the signal that this represents in terms of confidence in Portuguese public finances”, said the Prime Minister, António Costa, in a press statement about today's decisions of the European Commission concerning the acceptance of the proposal of State’s budget to 2017, the no suspension of the European funds and the confirmation that Portugal will go out of the excessive deficit procedure at the end of the year.
The Prime Minister said that “today, the European Commission recognized several things: In the first place, in 2016 we had effective action in the control of the public finances and, therefore, we hope that we can leave the excessive deficit procedure. Secondly, there is a cancellation of the sanctions procedure. Finally, in relation to the Budget for 2017, the risk of non-compliance is very limited”.
During this statement that took place in Marrakesh, Morocco, where he is participating in the climate conference, António Costa said that “families can start to look at their daily lives more peacefully, without the fear of cuts on their budgets nor tax increases”.
“Portuguese companies can now look with confidence at the financing conditions, and the country can look with confidence and tranquillity regarding its relationship with the European institutions”, he added.
Portugal “can only be optimistic about 2017”
The Prime Minister said that “the three messages of the European Commission give an important incentive to the Government, in terms of motivation. The best guarantee that 2017 will go well was the way it ran in 2016”.
António Costa remembered that, “last year, the European Commission did not approve the State budget, which had to be amended, and additional measures were required, while Portugal was clearly told that it would not leave the excessive deficit procedure. The country also had a sanctions process opened”.
Now, “that sanctions were suspended, the threat on European funds felt apart and the State budget to 2017 was approved. The European Commission also said that Portugal was going to leave the excessive deficit procedure”.
“In fact, it was very clear that the numbers showed on November, 15th about Portugal’s strong economic growth during the third quarter of 2016 indicate better prospects than the previous numbers with which the European Commission worked”, he added.
The Portuguese economy grew 0.8% from the second to the third quarter, the National Statistics Institute reported. Year-on-year growth was 1.6%, compared to 0.9% in the first and second quarters. Growth was sustained on the external and internal components and in strong employment growth.
Because of all of this, Portugal “can only be optimistic about 2017”.