Portugal’s new govt sees EU aid as firing up economic growth

Mar 30, 2022, 3:08 AM | Updated: 12:50 pm
Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa delivers his speech during the swearing in ceremony of the ...

Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa delivers his speech during the swearing in ceremony of the new center-left Socialist government at the Ajuda palace in Lisbon, Wednesday, March 30, 2022. The Socialists captured 120 seats in the 230-seat parliament in a landslide election win last January, opening a path for far-reaching reforms long postponed by political quarreling. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)

(AP Photo/Armando Franca)

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Members of Portugal’s center-left Socialist Party were sworn into office Wednesday for the party’s third straight term in government as the country prepares to start spending some 45 billion euros ($50 billion) in European Union aid to help fire up one of the bloc’s weakest economies.

The Socialists captured 120 seats in the 230-seat parliament in a landslide January election, opening a path for far-reaching reforms long postponed by political quarreling. The main opposition center-right Social Democratic Party has 77 seats.

The new government has “exceptional conditions to be able to do what needs to be done, with no excuses or alibis,” Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa said at the swearing-in ceremony.

Prime Minister António Costa, the Socialist Party leader who has led the country since 2015, promised an economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic but now also faces headwinds stemming from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Costa said his new government won’t get a honeymoon period because the pandemic isn’t over yet and the war in Ukraine has brought “a huge factor of uncertainty” for the economy and livelihoods.

Even so, the windfall of EU funds presents a “unique opportunity,” he said.

“Portugal has today the conditions it never had before to begin a new cycle of sustainable and inclusive development,” Costa said in his speech.

Portugal, a country of around 10.3 million people, has for more than two decades been marked by low growth, low productivity and low salaries.

New challenges include a steep rise in the cost of living, including higher electricity and gas prices for households and businesses, in the wake of the war in Ukraine.

Consumer confidence posted its second sharpest drop on record in March, the national statistics agency reported Wednesday. It also said that rental prices for accommodation jumped by more than 8% at the end of last year.

Despite the promise of more public spending, the incoming finance minister, Fernando Medina, said that keeping a firm lid on the national debt is a “fundamental priority” for the new government, adding that the country’s international credibility depends on it.

However, delays in holding the general election and vote-counting mean the new parliament sworn in Tuesday is unlikely to approve the 2022 state budget before the end of June due to bureaucratic procedures.

The EU aid expected in coming years includes 15.3 billion euros ($17 billion) in immediate pandemic-recovery funds and almost 30 billion euros ($33.4 billion) as part of EU subsidies through 2027.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Albuquerque police seek car in killings of 4 Muslim men

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Authorities investigating whether the killings of four Muslim men are connected said Sunday that they need help finding a vehicle believed to be connected to the deaths in New Mexico’s largest the city. Albuquerque police said they released photos of the vehicle suspected of being used in the four homicides, hoping […]
18 hours ago
Associated Press

Report: Dozens got sick after visiting Kansas splash park

GODDARD, Kan. (AP) — A new federal study said dozens of people got sick after visiting a splash park near Wichita, Kansas, last summer. The study by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that 21 people contracted Shigella bacteria and six others became sick with the norovirus after visiting the splash park […]
18 hours ago
A sign marks the water line from 2002 near Lake Mead at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Sat...
Associated Press

More human remains discovered as drought dries Lake Mead

More human remains have been found at drought-stricken Lake Mead National Recreation Area east of Las Vegas, authorities said Sunday.
18 hours ago
Associated Press

North Carolina sheriff stocking schools with AR-15 rifles

MARSHALL, N.C. (AP) — When schools in one North Carolina county reopen later this month, new security measures will include stocking AR-15 rifles for school resource officers to use in the event of an active shooter. Spurred by the elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that left 19 children and two teachers dead in May, […]
18 hours ago
Republican Kentucky State Representative Savannah Maddox addresses the audience gathered during the...
Associated Press

Kentucky candidates struggle when describing 2020 election

FANCY FARM, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky Republicans came to the state’s premier political event this weekend intent on winning elections in November and beyond, but some candidates aspiring to become governor had a hard time coming to terms with Donald Trump’s defeat in 2020. They gave parsed or tortured responses when asked if Democrat Joe […]
18 hours ago
FILE - Miss America 2018 Cara Mund poses for photographers on the 86th Floor Observation Deck of th...
Associated Press

Former Miss America Cara Mund plans to run for Congress

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Cara Mund, a former Miss America who gained attention by criticizing the organization near the end of her reign in 2018, plans to run for Congress in North Dakota as an independent. Mund announced her candidacy Saturday and said she would start gathering the 1,000 signatures she needs to get on […]
18 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Sanderson Ford

Don’t let rising fuel prices stop you from traveling Arizona this summer

There's no better time to get out on the open road and see what the beautiful state of Arizona has to offer. But if the cost of gas is putting a cloud over your summer vacation plans, let Sanderson Ford help with their wide-range selection of electric vehicles.
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Vaccines are safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Are you pregnant? Do you have a friend or loved one who’s expecting?
Portugal’s new govt sees EU aid as firing up economic growth