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Portuguese feel bailout is cold comfort

Portuguese feel bailout is cold comfort
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A lot of worried Portuguese are uncertain what their caretaker prime minister’s reassurances are worth, surrounding the conditions of a 78 billion euro bailout of their heavily indebted economy.

He has said the agreed three-year terms with the European Union and the IMF are a victory. His government collapsed last month because of the crisis.

Jose Socrates said: “I have always looked at a request for external aid as a solution of last resort, but I think we have reached a point where not taking this decision would carry unacceptable risks for the country.”

According to Socrates, the terms were not as tough as those for Greece and Ireland when they were bailed out last year.

Many Lisbon residents wanted to know a lot more: “He didn’t explain what we have to pay. He only talked about the positive things, but said nothing about the higher taxes we’ll have to pay,” said one.

Another Lisboner said: “I think the prime minister only said what suited him, the best things. He said the IMF will speak within days, certainly to say the worst things.”

An official source said that austerity measures point to a two percent contraction of the economy.

The package will need broad cross-party support for whoever wins a June 5 general election to be able to put it into practice.