Merkel a ‘Persona Non Grata’
Merkel is not very welcome in Southern Europe. Let’s see how the Euromess develops going further. One thing is sure, people don’t like the Troika nor Merkel. From her last visit in Portugal, via Spiegel.
Many people in the country view the situation differently. “Go To Hell Troika,” for example, has been the motto of one Facebook group created by the left-wing opposition, unions and civic groups to protest Merkel’s visit. And five days before her visit, more than a hundred intellectuals and artists signed an open letter posted on the Internet declaring Merkel to be a “persona non grata.” As in Greece, where protesters also greeted the chancellor during her recent visit, Merkel is being viewed by a growing portion of the population in Portugal as the personification of austerity measures and the leader responsible for the painful cuts that they are being forced to accept in return for aid from their European partners.
In May 2011, the country became the recipient of a bailout package from the European Financial Stability Facility, the temporary euro rescue fund. At the time,the troika — comprised of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund — provided Portugal with a €78 billion emergency loan. The conditions for the aid have already been extended by a year and stipulate that Lisbon reduce deficit spending to 4.5 percent of gross domestic product by next year, with the country then adhering to the EU upper ceiling of 3 percent deficit spending by 2014. It also envisions Portugal being able to finance itself independently via the markets again by September 2013.
The Portuguese have long been considered model pupils when it comes to reforms, but many experts have come to believe that the country is still going to have to rely on its creditors for a longer period of time. Recently, they have registered signs of fatigue in Lisbon’s reform efforts. That’s little wonder given the deep recession that has caused the economy to contract by 3 percent this year and an unemployment rate that is at 16 percent and rising. Among the Portuguese under the age of 24, more than one-third are jobless.
Full article here.