Portugal Socialists Urge Change to Government’s Austerity Policy

Portugal’s Socialist Party, the biggest opposition group in parliament, said it asked the country’s lenders to change their strategy of “austerity at any cost” for the southern European country.

“That change is urgent because we have reached a critical moment in the country’s life,” Socialist leader Antonio Jose Seguro said after a meeting in Lisbon today with the so-called troika, comprised of officials from the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Seguro reaffirmed that his party would oppose a government plan to cut spending by about 4 billion euros ($5.1 billion) in the two years through 2014 as it would result in the reduction of basic services in areas such as health and education.

The troika officials began the sixth quarterly review of Portugal’s 78-billion-euro financial aid program this week.

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