“Portugal and Sweden have a very close vision of what is necessary to do to get through this crisis and prevail”, said Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho during an official visit of Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt on 27 and 28 March. But as become customary, any meeting involving the Prime Minister was greeted by protestors.
Speaking in Oporto, where the Portuguese head of state and his Swedish counterpart visited a University in Oporto, Passos Coelho added that “Sweden has been an important support, political and diplomatic, both within a European context and outside Europe”, and commented that “over the years Portugal has stirred the interest of Swedish investment.”
The Swedish Prime Minister’s visit to the Oporto University was blighted by protestors who awaited his arrival sporting banners that read: “Screw the Troika, we want our lives back.”
Stressing that “Sweden is a very important partner for Portugal and Portuguese businesses”, Passos Coelho drew comparisons between changes that have taken place in Sweden and those that Portugal is currently going though.
“Deeper micro-economic reforms are needed as well as a greater economic and commercial opening and it is also necessary to deepen the European internal market in terms of services”, an area which has kept itself out of that circuit.
Underlining the importance of the country gaining “healthier growth patterns”, the PM stressed: “We are in a situation that has many uncertain variables, with the crisis in Cyprus, which shows the relevance of maintaining stability within the EU to stop similar situations from happening in the future.”
Regarding the possibility of the Cypriot crisis spreading to other bailout countries, Passos Coelho reassured: “There is no risk of disturbances within the financial system and I hope there are no attempts to cause suspicion among depositors. Cyprus is a very unique case and not an example for other countries.”
Fredrik Reinfeldt recalled how “Sweden has been through complicated situations similar to what Portugal is going through. It managed to overcome them via unpopular structural reforms but which allowed competition to be increased.”
“The budget aspect becomes increasingly important because open economies are more vulnerable to markets if they have high deficits”, the Swedish PM concluded.