Portugal’s banks will get 12 billion euros to recapitalise, but ordinary people can expect no such thing. The strap put on the public finances means that even welfare benefits will be subject to tax under the bailout plan.
People on one-month contracts, or working in a restaurant feel nauseous about it.
Silvia Soares, from Lisbon, who works for a telephone company, said: “For now, I have no hope in the future. I have no hope. I am 32, I want to have a child and I can’t, because I don’t have any money to pay for school, to pay for health care.”
Lisboner Beatrice Moreira, 28, who works as a restaurant hostess, said: “You know, we’re going to receive international help, fair enough, it should have happened a long time ago, because now we’re just going to be in more debt. You know, you will have to pay, let’s say on top of that money you will have to pay back some more, so it’s not going to help the situation.”
Economists say solving Portugal’s problems could take a decade. It depends heavily on low-skill industries like textiles, with fierce outside competition. And wages have grown much faster than productivity. The elections coming next month appear frought with uncertainty.