Pittella: Absurd sanctions against Portugal will only alienate people from the EU

 Relaunching Europe - From Austerity to Growth - Porto, Gianni Pittella,  Portuguese Prime-Minister António Costa, a fair fiscal policy and opportunities for the young generation,

S&D president Gianni Pittella, at the end of a bilateral meeting yesterday evening in Porto with the Portuguese prime minister Antonio Costa, said:

"Now is not the time to activate sanctions against Portugal.

"Sanctions for Portugal's public deficit - as a consequence of inappropriate policies from the previous governments - would be counterproductive. They would only alienate citizens' trust from Europe, especially now following Brexit.

"Juncker has promised to lead a political Commission. He must now prove it by applying the European fiscal rules with flexibility taking the general context into account.

"In the last years, the Portuguese deficit sharply decreased despite a very difficult European economic environment and a major banking crisis. According to the latest Commission forecasts, the deficit will drop below 3% of GDP already this year. Public debt is also decreasing significantly. In this context it would be absurd to sanction the government. This recovery needs to be sustained and not undermined."

Pittella concluded after the bilateral meeting:

"Now it is high time to say: Adeus austerity."

During the Relaunching event in Porto, Gianni Pittella and leading members of the S&D Group, including vice-presidents Maria João Rodrigues and Marju Lauristin, the head of the Portuguese socialist delegation Carlos Zorrinho, S&D Euro MPs Pedro Silva Pereira, Ana Gomes and Francisco Assis, together with prime minister Antonio Costa, the mayor of Porto Rui Moreira and the MP Ana Catarina Mendes, debated with representatives of civil society and academics about ways to revive the European economy. Around 200 citizens attended the meeting. Issues such as stimulating growth and investment, progressive governance for the Eurozone and a Marshall Plan for European Youth were addressed.

More information on the Relaunching Europe initiative can be found here