Passos Coelho: 2013 will be the beginning of the end of the crisis

"2013 will be the year of investment in economic activity", of "economic stabilization and preparation for recovery", said Pedro Passos yesterday […]

"2013 will be the year of investment in economic activity", of "economic stabilization and preparation for recovery", said yesterday Pedro Passos Coelho, prime minister and president of the PSD, at a Festa do Pontal that did not heat up.

Despite never having used the word «retakes» throughout his speech, Passos Coelho also said that «we are closer to overcoming the crisis and returning to one of the darkest pages in the history of our country».

The prime minister guaranteed that his government has a "four-year" program and that it has "the ambition to be able to renew it, because Portugal needs to change continuously and not return to the culture of easy debt".

“We knew we were going to enter a long-distance race. We have presented a State Budget and we are complying with it. We are going to present the second budget of several that this Government will make known to the country. If we are doubling half of the assessments with the “troika”, we are only a quarter of our mandate», added Passos Coelho, in the Aquashow water park, near Quarteira, where the Festa do Pontal has moved this year.

In front of an audience made up of PSD militants and sympathizers, the party president did not shy away from sending messages to the opposition, namely to the PS: “there are still those who think that after this interim the regalia can come back and make promises that they then taste like. They are wrong. They are the same, roughly speaking, who thought that the elections in France would change everything in Europe and that other countries would not need to make sacrifices».

Although the atmosphere in the room never warmed up, not even when the anti-toll idling caravan passed the door of the Aquashow, Passos Coelho also spoke of other current hot topics in the country, such as tax evasion, to which he promised «a fight without truce” or the renegotiation of the Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) on roads in 2013.

These are, in fact, measures that will be included in the State Budget for next year, with the prime minister having announced that he himself will be responsible for "presenting to the country" the alternative "solution" to the cut in vacation and holiday allowances. Christmas to public sector workers and pensioners, which the Constitutional Court considered unconstitutional.

The fact is that, he stressed, the Government, despite betting on "meeting the goals set" under the agreement with the "troika", will adopt a measure with a "budgetary effect equivalent" to the cut in subsidies.

In relation to the country's economic climate, Passos Coelho stressed that “the change in economic attitude also depends a lot on private agents and at this point it also depends on the banks being able to reallocate their credit portfolios”.

"That those who have good ideas can be supported depends not only on the Government's incentives and the Government's guidance, but on the attitude that the banks themselves may reveal", he said, in a clear allusion to the criticisms that emerged last week about the refusal financing by CGD to large private projects, such as the Roquette Group in Alqueva.

«Don't ask me to go to Caixa Geral de Depósitos to find out why it doesn't give loans to this investor or another, because CGD's role is not to answer the Government whether it should give loans to this investor or another. But how I would like CGD and the other banks to all treat those who have good ideas without prejudice and regardless of the debt they may have in their banks. It is necessary to say that».

The question of the sacrifices imposed by the austerity measures on the Portuguese permeated the entire speech of Passos Coelho, who expressed his "pride" for the "selfless" way in which the Portuguese have acted in the country's recovery.

There may even be "other ways" to resolve the crisis, he admitted, but there is no other "better" than the one chosen by the Government, he guaranteed. "Our sacrifices will be worth it, our sacrifices are worth it," he stressed.