The Weak Ring of Europe -November 2012-

The signs of the economic crisis are less evident in Portugal than in other countries of the EU; in contrast to Spain and Ireland they never got into an important economic development and up today they continue on being behind in terms of growing GDP, with a medium increase of just 1.3% in contrast to 1.9% in the rest of the regions.  A GDP growing near zero during many years has jeopardized the production of the national industry.  In order to move out from this scenario, the Portuguese economic system should get rid of an unproductive public expenditure, which has brought the state budget deficit up to 9.3% of the GDP, when the parameter fixed for remaining in the Euro is 3%.  The unproductiveness is reflected in the most worrying aspect of the crisis: high rate of unemployment, estimated around 13.5% in 2010, creating lots of new poor people. In a country where the minimal wage is 450 euros the lost of a job means frequently translated in poverty, thus the situation is precarious. Of the 17 million inhabitants nearly 2 lives in poverty. The youth in spite of their capacities and resources remains struck by the unemployment, with a medium rate of unemployment in between 15 and 24 years old of 22%, 12% in between 25 and 34 and 10% in between 35 and 44 years old. To reorganize the public count, there has been previewed new measures such as a 5% cut off all public salaries, freezing of all the pensions, rising of the value added tax (VAT) from 21 to 23%, cut of all economical family help and cuts of in medical care. This is the third economical manoeuvre done by the state in less than one year, which brings up a general displeasure in the Portuguese people. All over Portugal, people are starting to mobilize against these economic measures, rejecting to be the sacrificed lamb that has to pay for the crisis.  The union has call for a General strike the 24 of November against the austerity measures of Socrates government; the first one after 20 years.