Portugal to stick with austerity program in 2015

AP News
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Posted: Oct 15, 2014 7:29 AM

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Portugal's government is prolonging into 2015 the main features of its unpopular austerity program, resisting the temptation to sweeten its policies in what will be an election year.

Portugal is still fighting to restore its fiscal health after needing a 78 billion euro ($98 billion) international rescue in 2011, when it almost went bankrupt amid a debt crisis that gripped countries sharing the euro currency. Though one of the eurozone's smallest economies, Portugal's recovery is seen as important to maintain investor confidence in the 18-nation bloc.

The three-year bailout program, which demanded deep spending cuts, higher taxes and the scrapping of cherished labor entitlements, ended in May.

But the center-right government says its 2015 state budget proposal, being announced Wednesday, must keep driving down the country's debt load.