THE Portuguese government has agreed to look for alternatives to th social security tax rise, just one week after huge anti-austerity street protests shook the regime to its core.
The plan was to raise contributions next year from 11% to 18%, so as to meet the conditions of Portugal’s international bailout. It is now in breach of its obligations to its creditors including the European Central Bank.
Portugal was recently given one year more to reduce its vast state deficit, following the latest quarterly review by international lenders overseeing its 78bn-euro (£62bn) bailout.
President Cavaco Silva called the meeting of his state council amid concern that Portugal’s only card in the eyes of international financial groups was that all the major parties were united on what had to be done. Now this unity has been shattered.
A statement issued said: ‘The council was informed of the government’s readiness to study, within the framework of the social bargaining process, alternatives to changes in the social security rate.’
Meanwhile Spain will be requiring up to 80bn euros to bail out its banks, according to the country’s second biggest lender, BBVA.
The schedule is to await the results of independent stress tests of the Spanish banking sector which will be published on 28 September.
Then the Spanish government will reveal its proposed economic reform (austerity) plans that will allow it to request the ECB bailout.
Spain’s banking sector needs recapitalising, and much of the money will come from the 100bn euros in European Union funds already pledged by eurozone finance ministers in June, provided the required measures are announced and imposed.
Then all hell will break out in Spain, with massive demonstrations and strike actions, backed up by Catalonian moves to break up Spain and secede, a move that has already seen sections of the Spanish military display its Francoist mentality.
Meanwhile Greece is on the brink of a major general strike, with many workers now convinced that they will have to take special measures, including bringing down the Troika imposed government and bringing in a workers government.
What clinched the argument about what to do was the admission last Friday by the Greek Justice Minister Antonis Roupakiotis, who publicly stated that ‘the Troika want blood’.
This admission followed on from the president of the German industrialists, Hans-Peter Keitel’s remarks, that what is required in Greece is its transformation into a giant special economic zone which will be ruled by European Commission Officers.
Greece has become a guinea pig for the rest of Europe. In this, Greece occupies the position of Spain in the late 1930s when the German and Italian fascists tried out the weapons that they later used in the rest of Europe.
Here in the UK, the Tories are more and more obsessed with savaging benefits and have turned viciously on the working class and the poorest people. Teachers are now being told quite bluntly that their wages are to be cut and their trade unions and national agreements broken up, to the point where the teaching unions say that war has been declared on them.
What is being spelt out from Athens to London is that there is no way out for the working class and the poor except to carry out socialist revolutions.
From Athens to London the masses are on the march. Even the TUC had to pass a general strike resolution at its TUC Congress. What is required now is to build the Fourth International all over Europe to lead the developing European socialist revolution to its victory.