Covers environment, transportation, urban and regional planning, economic and social issues with a focus on Finland and Portugal.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Portugal PM Socrates Resigns After Parliament Rejects Austerity Plan [VIDEO]

Portugal political crisis over  sovereign debt - Prime Minister José Sócrates tendered his resignation after Parliament rejected a new government austerity plan (PEC IV), moves expected to greatly increase pressure on the country to accept an international bailout.
In Ireland a bail-out by the euro zone’s rescue fund helped to force the government into calling (and losing) an early election. In Portugal an early election may force the government into accepting a bail-out. The question is: which government?


Portugal and Finland could overshadow EU summit / Brussels - #Brussels fears #Lisbon left rudderless Mar 23
‎Even if Portugal were to ride out the storm with its government in limbo, European officials worry that failure to pass the EU-backed measures on Wednesday and Mr Sócrates’ resignation could overshadow the upcoming summit.
“If there is a fall of the Portuguese government, we’re in trouble,” said one senior European diplomat involved in economic negotiations. “How do you sell this as a credible collective response?”

"Finland Holds Key to #Euro Zone ‘Grand Bargain’ - CNBC- Mar 23
When European Union leaders gather in Brussels at the end of the week to finalise a much-anticipated “grand bargain” to solve their debt crisis, the eyes of the financial markets will be focused on an unlikely place: Finland.
After months of negotiations, the Finnish government, normally one of the most pro-European Union members in the bloc, is set to hold up one of the central elements of the package, in part because it has been blindsided at home by the rise of a populist anti-euro party that is threatening to cause havoc in next month’s national elections.(...)
Without unanimity in the euro zone, the deal could fall apart. In an interview with the Financial Times, Ms Kiviniemi acknowledged that Finland was playing the unusual role of “troublemaker” in negotiations.
But, with the parliament’s Europe committee opposing the increase and the legislature dissolved ahead of the April 17 elections, her hands are tied. 
“I don’t have the mandate from the parliament to increase them,” she said, noting it would have to be called back into an emergency session to approve an increase.
“It would be very, very difficult. I would say impossible, because this topic is a very hot one.” Ms Kiviniemi is not the only one struggling with the issue. 
Portugal Premier Quits After Austerity Plan Is Rejected