Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Virunga Park chief shot

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Algerian election: Bouteflika votes in wheelchair

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Algeria's media: a mixture of censorship and free speech

Read more

DEBATE

Algeria: What's the Choice? Incumbent Bouteflika Votes in Wheelchair

Read more

WEB NEWS

Nigerian web users call for end to violence

Read more

FOCUS

Bitcoin in the US: A monetary revolution?

Read more

ENCORE!

Fast cars and slow trains

Read more

WEB NEWS

Chile: online mobilization to help Valparaiso fire victims

Read more

FACE-OFF

François Hollande: France's most unpopular president

Read more

  • Russia and West agree on steps to ease Ukraine crisis

    Read more

  • Low turnout in Algerian election tipped to return Bouteflika

    Read more

  • Hundreds still trapped in sunken South Korea ferry

    Read more

  • Nobel-winning Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez dies at 87

    Read more

  • Deadly attack on civilians sheltering in UN base in South Sudan

    Read more

  • With a strong French presence, veterans and fresh faces, Cannes aims to please

    Read more

  • Eurostar train delay "chaos"

    Read more

  • Chelsea Clinton says she is pregnant

    Read more

  • French troops free five aid workers kidnapped in Mali by Islamists

    Read more

  • In pictures: Iranian woman pardons son’s killer at the gallows

    Read more

  • After cup defeat, Spanish pundits read last rites for Barcelona

    Read more

  • India heads to polls in single largest day of voting

    Read more

  • Ukraine talks open in Geneva as Putin talks tough on TV

    Read more

  • Pro-Russian separatists killed in attack on Black Sea base

    Read more

  • Man executed in Texas for 2002 triple murder

    Read more

  • Scandal-hit French doctor Jacques Servier dies at 92

    Read more

  • Belgian head of wildlife reserve shot in DR Congo

    Read more

  • Crunch talks on Ukraine begin in Geneva

    Read more

  • Stagehand of God? Maradona's legendary goal inspires a play

    Read more

  • US rolls out red carpet for French critic of capitalism

    Read more

  • N. Korea not amused by London hair salon's Kim Jong-un ad

    Read more

  • Real Madrid beat old foes Barcelona to lift Copa del Rey

    Read more

  • France's new PM targets welfare in drive to cut spending

    Read more

  • Campaigning against Bouteflika's re-election... in France

    Read more

  • Brazil club Mineiro cancel Anelka signing after no-show

    Read more

Europe

Portugal government reverses stance on tax hike

©

Latest update : 2012-09-22

In a sudden reversal, Portugal’s government has agreed to explore alternative solutions to a social security tax hike, a measure that sparked the worst public backlash to austerity the country has seen since negotiating an EU/IMF bailout last year.

In an about-face, Portugal’s government has agreed to negotiate alternative solutions to a social security tax hike that sparked the worst backlash to austerity since last year’s EU/IMF bailout, an official statement said on Saturday.

After an eight-hour meeting of the presidential state council that was besieged by protesters and ended long after midnight on Saturday, the council said the negotiations would now proceed between the government, unions and employers.

On Friday, Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho promised to “listen to the country” after huge street protests last weekend and criticism of the plan by unions and business leaders alike. He had previously only agreed to “calibrate” the measure.

The plan to raise the contributions in 2013 to 18 percent from 11 percent has undermined a reluctant acceptance of austerity in Portugal, increasing pressure on the government as it strives to meet the strict conditions of the bailout.

“The council was informed of the government’s readiness to study, within the framework of the social bargaining process, alternatives to changes in the social security rate,” the statement said after the council meeting.

It also said that “difficulties that could affect the solidity of the ruling coalition have been overcome”, confirming earlier statements by the two centre-right coalition partners that they remained committed to the bailout’s targets. Junior coalition partner CDS-PP is traditionally against tax hikes.

Thousands of protesters gathered next to the presidential palace where President Anibal Cavaco Silva’s met with his council—the consultative body made up of senior political figures, including Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho.

They demanded the government’s resignation and chanted, “Thieves, thieves!”

Over a hundred stayed until the end of the meeting and booed the council members as they left.

Expresso weekly newspaper said in its weekend edition the premier had decided to abandon the measure, which had irritated workers because it simultaneously reduced social security contributions by companies, but was preparing a new cut in holiday subsidies for workers instead to meet tough fiscal goals of the bailout.

Some analysts say the badly-devised attempt to hike the social security levy will make additional austerity measures harder to swallow now despite the government’s retreat and strife is likely to grow especially since Portugal’s economic recession is now expected to continue next year.

Portugal has entered its worst recession since the 1970s as it labours under sweeping tax increases and spending cuts, with the centre-right government’s popularity slumping to an all-time low after it announced the tax changes.

(REUTERS)

Date created : 2012-09-22

  • SPAIN

    Spaniards, Portuguese stage mass anti-austerity rallies

    Read more

  • EUROPE

    Portugal feels sting as EU creeps near recession

    Read more

  • Portugal

    Portuguese rally against austerity measures

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)