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"Premature" to talk about renegotiation of public debt: Portuguese president

Xinhua, December 10, 2016 Adjust font size:

Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa on Friday said it was "premature" to consider a renegotiation of Portugal's public debt due to the elections taking place next year in several European Union countries.

"Speculating about European scenarios in a year in which there will be several elections in several founding economies of the European Union means speculating what will happen in Europe in a years time," he said, adding: "To debate the issue of debt is completely premature and untimely."

He said Portugal was complying with commitments made with the European Union.

"At this time, there are commitments which have been made, the commitments are being complied with, and the results are in line with these commitments. That's good news," De Sousa said.

Portugal signed a 78 billion euros (82.30 billion U.S. dollars) bailout program in 2011 when on the verge of bankruptcy. While the country ended that program in 2014, its debt load still stands at over 130 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).

Earlier this week, the president of Portugal's Council of Public Finances, Teodora Cardoso, called for Portugal to have its public debt restructured, saying it was the only way for the country to reach the deficit target of 2.5 percent for this year, mandated by Brussels.

The European Central Bank said in a statement this Thursday following a post-program monitoring mission that Portugal's recovery "continues to be held back by elevated levels of debt in the private and public sector, high non-performing loans and rigidities in product and labor markets." Endit