Portugal rejoices as EU budget procedure ends
The EU Commission has ended the disciplinary budget procedure for Portugal after eight years. Having brought its budget deficit well below the EU's three percent of GDP limit, the country need no longer fear any penalties. Portugal's press celebrates the good news but doesn't lose sight of the ongoing problems.
Symbols also count
Portugal's exit from the EU budget procedure is enormously important from a psychological perspective, Jornal de Negócios explains:
“After eight long years Portugal has finally succeeded. It was a long and hard path - so we're right to stress the good news. … We have yet to reach some of our ambitious consolidation goals (some even more ambitious than before). And improving our credit rating with the three big agencies is far more important than the end of the EU budget procedure. … But the fact that we are no longer among the deficit sinner countries has symbolic importance - and symbols count too. … We are far from reaching all our goals yet. [Socialist Prime Minister] António Costa as well as the majority of the Portuguese are aware of this. … We must now continue on our chosen path - without the 'troika's austerity madness', but also without financial fantasies.”
A match won - but not the whole tournament
Portugal hasn't achieved its goal yet, Público also warns:
“Not a single Portuguese ran to the Marquês de Pombal square in Lisbon's city centre [the place where the Lisbon football club's championship title was celebrated] to celebrate Portugal's hard-earned exit from the EU budget procedure. Not even the rarity of the moment prompted anyone to do this: in its 15 years of Eurozoe membership only twice has Portugal freed its head from the noose of the EU budget procedure - only to end up back in the noose shortly afterwards. This explains the cautious statements by President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, the harsh warnings of former conservative prime minister Passos Coelho and the sobriety of the current socialist head of government António Costa: this is a victory, but we haven't won the tournament yet.”