Crisis hit European countries are doing their best to celebrate the festive season despite the cost-cutting. The streets of the Portuguese capital Lisbon are normally ablaze with Christmas lights but this year the council has sacrificed them to save 700, 000 euros. And at the Christmas market people are being encouraged to support the local economy, according to manager Enrique Borges:
“The Portuguese people have to be more ‘Portuguese,’ and that means we have to appreciate what we have, the things that we produce. For example here in the Christmas market we have products, authentic Portuguese products, that are going to help to make the Troika leave the country as soon as possible.”
If some lights have been switched off others have been turned on. The usual expensive bling has been replaced by way of a cheaper but arguably more creative alternative, designed in part by Catarina Pestana.
Catarina says: “Instead of illuminating Lisbon with the traditional Christmas lights that almost nobody looked at because they were always the same, we wanted to try to do seven different art installations as a way to face the crisis in a different way.”
The Portuguese government has also received a Christmas bonus in the form of a previously unknown 2bn euro pension fund surplus.