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Portugal adopts new austerity budget

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Crisis-wracked Portugal on Tuesday adopted a revised medium-term budget that aimed to slash state spending by some four billion euros ($5.2 billion) over the next two years.

Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho's cabinet adopted the budget which would now be considered in parliament later Tuesday, the government said in a short statement that revealed no details of the measures.

Lisbon was forced to re-think its spending plans after the country's Constitutional Court rejected several measures in the 2013 budget, depriving the government of around 1.3 billion euros in savings.

The ruling made it harder for the government to reduce Portugal's public deficit to 5.5 percent of gross domestic product this year to keep it eligible for funds under a 78-billion-euro bailout from the EU and IMF.

Lisbon is still waiting for a two-billion-euro slice of aid from this bailout fund that was granted in 2011 as the country fell victim to the eurozone debt crisis.

The Portuguese economy is expected to shrink by 2.3 percent this year with unemployment poised to breach the record 18-percent level.

Earlier in the month, Coelho announced budget cuts and other measures estimated to be worth around 600 million euros to appease international lenders.

He warned "the country would collapse" if it were locked out of sovereign debt markets.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130430/portugal-adopts-new-austerity-budget