Portugal scraps more austerity but vows budget deficit cut

LISBON, Portugal – Portugal’s centre-left government is rolling back some more austerity measures, even while it pledges to keep cutting its budget deficit.

The government said Thursday it will re-open some public services in rural areas that were shut to save money after Portugal came close to bankruptcy in 2011 and needed a 78 billion-euro ($85.5 billion) international bailout.

The Socialist Party is in power thanks to the support in Parliament of the Communist Party and radical Left Bloc, which have given their blessing to the 2017 state budget.

That spending plan foresees a 1.8 per cent deficit in 2017. The government is aiming for a 2.2 per cent deficit this year, though the International Monetary Fund expects 3 per cent.

The IMF has warned that Portugal remains one of the eurozone’s financially vulnerable countries.