Prime Minister Antonio Costa said on Saturday that there is a possibility for Portugal’s divided parliament to refuse to approve Lisbon’s contribution to new bailout loans for Greece and a European Union aid package to also aid Turkey deal with the migrant crisis.
Costa told journalists the two far-left parties that back his minority Socialist government – the Left Bloc and the Communists – had long opposed the payments and could vote against them. The main opposition Social Democrats had also said they would cast-off the aid, Costa said, a position he descried as an “irresponsible” change in their past support for the package.
Noting that a 3-billion-euro ($3.35 billion) aid package for Turkey in November was agreed by EU; made up partly of money from the EU budget and partly of contributions from member states. The inability or refrainment of one country to contribute, doesn’t mean that the package would consequently collapse, a matter of-fact it would simply mean that there would be less money in it – unless another EU state picked up the slack.
On a side note,the money for the Greek bailout comes from the European Stability Mechanism, which borrows it on the markets with small national contributions to the fund’s capital. The Portuguese funding for both is part of this year’s budget, which is still making its way through parliament due to delays following months of political uncertainty and last year’s inconclusive election that ultimately led Costa to power.
PM Costa said in televised remarks answering questions from reporters; “They (the opposition) will say, ah, but the other parties could have a different stance. They could. But they are consistent with what they’ve always been saying and they’d have to change their position.”
“But the Social Democrats who assumed these responsibilities for the Portuguese state, and who have always supported them, now refuse to approve them … That is absolutely irresponsible,” he said in Paris after a European Socialist summit. Portugal, Western Europe’s poorest nation, was supposed to transfer 24 million euros to Turkey under the EU November deal. Portugal’s scheduled contribution to the Greek loan package totals 107 million euros this year.