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April 25, 2013
April 25, 2013

Portugal – the citizens say no to the Troika

This article is also available in: frpt-ptel
Portugal – the citizens say no to the Troika

April 25th, commemoration date of 1974’s “Carnation Revolution”. – DR
The Portuguese should take to the streets again massively this April 25th, anniversary of the “Carnation Revolution”. The target is the policies of austerity imposed by Brussels and Frankfurt.

The Portuguese should take to the streets again massively this April 25th to commemorate the “Carnation Revolution” that put an end to the longest dictatorship in the history of Europe. As on March the 2nd, the demand is simple: the government’s resignation and the end of the politics of austerity.

In the beginning of April, the demonstrators found an important ally in the Constitutional Court, as this last one adjusted some of the strict measures inscribed in the State budget for 2013. The Prime Minister, Passos Coelho (right-wing), nevertheless announced new public expenditure cuts and got the support of the President of the Republic, Cavaco Silca (right-wing). This attitude earned him a public comment by his predecessor, Mário Soares, in an interview to the Daily I: “He should recollect the history of the XX century. The last king of Portugal was killed [in 1908] for far less”.

The government policies have proven to be rather unsuccessful after the implementation of the 78 million euro rescue plan of the Troika agreed on May 2011. The recession is deepening, the budget deficit is increasing and the unemployment rates are sky-rocketing – currently 17.3%. The socialist opposition leader, António José Seguro, rejected all the Troika and government calls to support the austerity policies.

The civil society is trying to get mobilised

But the boldest stance is the one of Mário Soares. The first socialist publicly declared that Portugal should refuse to pay the debt, joining the position of the Communist Party and Bloco de Esquerda (left-wing). “When there is no money, one does not pay.”

The same happened with Argentina, for example, and the people did not find themselves in worst conditions. By saying no, the Portuguese can take a breath. Poverty will recede, as well as unemployment. According to the ex-President, “the Troika is acting as if it owned the country and wanted to cause our destruction as a Nation-State. If we want to save the Euro and the European Union, the speculative markets need to obey the States again.”

The ferocious critique is not just a whim of the left, as it is shown by the comment of the ex-vice President of the European Parliament, José Pacheco Pereira, who belongs to the same party as Passos Coelho. “To turn the young on the old, the retired on the non-taxpayers, the unemployed on the workers, as the government is doing, is a very dangerous discourse, unacceptable in a democracy”, he says to the Daily i. To overcome the crisis, society needs to mobilise itself. The Initiative for a citizens’ audit of the public debt is a good example.

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