Portugal’s PM vows to press ahead with anti-austerity plans

LISBON, Portugal – Portuguese prime minister says he has taken note of European Union concerns about his debt-heavy country’s spending plans but is determined to make his anti-austerity program work.

Prime Minister Antonio Costa says his centre-left government’s budget for this year lays the foundations for new growth, job creation, better welfare benefits and a lower deficit.

He told Parliament on Friday that government spending will abide by the financial rules binding countries using the shared euro currency while at the same time “turning the page on austerity.” That is a reference to his policy of reversing the cutbacks imposed after Portugal needed a 78 billion-euro ($88 billion) bailout in 2011.

European officials have expressed misgivings about Costa’s plans, and apparently nervous investors have pushed up Portugal’s borrowing costs over the past week.