Portugal may have left the EU bailout programme. It may have just seen its debt upgraded by a major ratings agency.
But its 2015 budget holds little more of promise for the country’s struggling workforce.
It extends austerity into 2015, with the only gesture after years of extreme belt-tightening a promise not to go after taxpayers in the search for revenues.
“The government has chosen not to increase tax. The budget proposal for the next year has a deficit of 2.7 percent of GDP, a target that’s slightly above the agreed deficit commitment. But it follows three years of intensive efforts and compliance with several features of the financial adjustment programme,” said Finance Minister Maria Luis Albuquerque.
However the minister warned that Portugal’s financial adjustment was incomplete, after the country nearly went bankrupt in 2011.
Anti-austerity protesters are unlikely to be impressed with a 0.2 percent easing in the EU budget deficit target. It may be the first time the Portuguese have deviated from the bailout plan, but few think it will put extra euros in their pockets.