Portugal to Present Draft Budget Plan to EU by End of This Year

Portugal will present its 2016 draft budget plan to the European Commission by the end of December, Finance Minister Mario Centeno said.

The government on Thursday approved measures including freezing some possible spending plans to allow the country to exit the European Union’s excessive deficit procedure this year, Centeno said at a press conference in Lisbon after the weekly cabinet meeting. His government has set a target for a budget deficit equivalent to 3 percent of gross domestic product in 2015 and 2.8 percent in 2016.

Prime Minister Antonio Costa was sworn in late last month and his minority Socialist government plans to reverse state salary cuts and bolster family incomes, easing austerity measures faster than the previous administration proposed. Costa says he can do that and keep the budget deficit within the EU limit of 3 percent through 2019.

Centeno said Portugal won’t meet the 2.7 percent budget deficit target set by the previous government for 2015.

Euro-area finance ministers should be able to discuss Portugal’s budget at a meeting in February, Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem said in Brussels on Dec. 7.

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