Last Sunday, March 2nd, AP reported of massive demonstrations held in Portugal. The basic matter is about economics, to go against the government decision to cut national budget in order to meet the objectives set up by the “Troika” (EU, IMF, WB) to resolve all the issues about debt and refinancing.
This time the combined number of protesteers reach the one million level. It’s always a big number but became pretty impressive when you think that Portugal got a total population size about 10.6 millions. It means that one on ten has been on the streets, demanding a stop to austerity measures.
Like many other countries in Europe, Portugal is facing a growing number of unemployed, a shrinking welfare state and an economy in deep recession. In 2011 the national government stipulate a number of agreements to get an huge bailout (more than 100 USD billions). With a negative cycle in all the main economy sectors the only way to reach the planned steps (for the current government) is to cut national budget.
Four years of recession and the perspective to have at least one more is too much for the portoguese population. Political situation is hot to say the least and the pressure from the streets is becoming too high to stand for the national authorities. So it’s time to say “no”, to put an end to an agreement too heavy for this little country.
The recent examples set by Iceland, that recovers its own financial crisis by a plain refusal to pay its debt to foreing private banks (about 5 euro billions) and from Argentina, that force a massive reconsideration of its national debt in the face of IMF and WB, could drive countries like Portugal and Greece to find a strong way out the Eurozone with unexplored consequencies. Are we ready for such a scenario?
You may find an article by Iain Sullivan /AP here