[Editor’s Note: This is the first entry in our symposium on the “The Euro-Crisis Ten Years Later: A Constitutional Appraisal.” The introduction to the symposium is available here.]
–Teresa Violante, Goethe University Frankfurt and Max-Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law
The story of how the Eurozone crisis was particularly harsh on Portugal is well known. Its most visible side concerns austerity policies particularly following the international loan agreed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Commission (EC) and the European Central Bank (ECB). As the government’s report on the execution of the Adjustment Programme claimed, «these were the years of the deepest and most wide-reaching reforms in the history of our democracy».
Poverty increased near the most vulnerable parts of the population such as children and youngsters. Despite the entrenched belief that the least-off had been spared to the harshest consequences, a recent study shows that it was the poor who were most severely affected: whereas the highest incomes suffered an average decrease of 13%, the 10% lowest incomes endured a reduction of 25%. General welfare and the provision of public services were also affected by increase in costs and cuts in their direct provision. Unemployment raised to the highest level registered under a democratic regime. From 7.6% in 2008 the figure skyrocketed to 16.2% in 2013 whereas the GDP decreased 7%. The budget deficit, on the contrary, decreased from 11% of the GDP in 2010 to 3% in 2017, when the Excessive Deficit Procedure against Portugal was finally closed.
The effects of the crisis are still unfolding.Read the rest of this entry…