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Greek debt relief talks to be delayed until after Portugal’s elections

Greek debt relief talks to be delayed until after Portugal’s electionsIt is another potentially-embarrassing revelation which Portugal’s prime minister Pedro Passos Coelho has deftly swatted to one side, blaming everything on “confusion” suffered by EC Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.

The latter was widely reported telling Belgium’s Le Soir newspaper that he had hoped to start talks on Greek debt relief in October “but this date was rejected because some countries - like Ireland, Portugal and Spain - did not want it before their elections”.

National tabloid Correio da Manhã explained that Passos Coelho’s “fear would be that any lifting of Greek debt (by prolonging maturities or reducing interest payments) could have electoral effects in Portugal”.

Worse still, “it could add weight to the arguments of those who defend debt renegotiation for the country where public debt represents 129.6% of GDP and is the third highest in the European Union”.

But Portugal’s PM has been quick to refute such speculation, saying “there must be some confusion by the President of the European Commission”.

Eurogroup chairman Jeroen Dijsselbloem was among many high-flyers in Brussels who told UK journalists back in 2014 that Juncker was a “stubborn drinker and smoker” so perhaps confusion could be the answer.

One who would know is Portugal’s own President Cavaco Silva - increasingly in the news for lapses from official protocol.

In this case, however, Cavaco has had no confusion. He has come out firmly in support of his prime minister telling journalists in Mafra yesterday (Wednesday) that Juncker’s take on the issue “does not correspond with that which the heads of State and government have confirmed. This does not correspond to my information”, he stressed.

Passos’ explanation for Juncker’s “confusion” was off pat. He said: “The fact is that Ireland, Spain and Portugal have requested that the discussion on the conditions to be offered Greece to improve its debt profile should take place after the first successful evaluation of its programme.”

In other words, after the Portuguese elections.

Article courtesy of the Portugal Resident http://portugalresident.com/

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+2 #3 J Williams 2015-07-24 14:34
Interesting, with an election coming, that OLAF the EU anti-Fraud police are now probing Tecnoforma - the company that Passos-Coelho and Relvas were involved with. Missing millions for a host of EU funded contracts including airport security training that had no connection to any airport. And projects in Africa that had no records kept.

Portuguese MEP Ana Gomes is presumably to thank for this with her 2012 tipoff to OLAF. http://www.anagomes.eu/en-GB/home.aspx

And predictable as ever - DCIAP - the Portuguese Criminal Investigation Police have 'locked down' the OLAF enquiry with one of their own. Their 2nd. The 1st enquiry losing steam as much of the paperwork had disappeared.

But, the Prosecutor General, usefully now making everything sub judice. So unmentionable in the forthcoming election. And just possibly, as with the Freeport video recordings about a Pinnochio expecting a bung; allowing a Portuguese judge to have destroyed anything making their man 'look bad' to OLAF.

Which means - as with the Subs enquiries - getting their man re-elected and so safe from these troublesome questions for another x years.
+3 #2 Deirdre 2015-07-24 07:18
We must hope that Juncker will have made a note of this from the PM of a minnow, highly troubled and troublesome, peripheral.

He must take his time for revenge. Strike with a cool head - not like a petulant teenager. Line up his best biros and methodically clean each ballpoint. Keep them ready in different side pockets - so if one pocket gets picked he has spares.

Practice writing No / Nao / Non / Nein / Κανένα etc in legible copperplate.

He knows what Portugal wants is what Portugal must not get. It has not earned the right to debt haircuts as it never fully joined the EU - and worked hard to grow its economy - in the first place.

Then Juncker knows what he must do; doing it for the rest of the like minded EU - with a steady hand.
+5 #1 dw 2015-07-23 23:39
The Eurogroup makes it up as it goes, with no formal rules, no minutes of their meetings and zero accountability or democratic legitimacy. No wonder there is confusion. The EU doesn't know what it wants, but is rapidly bringing about its own demise.

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