quarta-feira, março 30, 2005

O que nós queremos

O Financial Times escreve sobre Portugal:
"What do the Portuguese want? The immediate answer is almost certainly rain and jobs.(...)
Portugal is not expecting José Sócrates, the country’s new Socialist prime minister, to make the heavens open. Delivering jobs, however, will be one of the key tests of his centre-left government. He has set a target of creating 150,000 jobs over the next four years and the Socialists’ election to a second term in 2009 will largely depend on his ability to meet this objective.(...)
The election was a personal triumph for Mr Sócrates, 47, a market-friendly Socialist who has brought unity and a touch of youthful appeal to his party. But there was no appetite for the street celebrations and blaring of car horns that usually follow such victories in Portugal. After voting in a new government with a clear mandate to tackle the weak economy and rising unemployment that have left the country despondent, the Portuguese went quietly home.(...)
Will Mr Sócrates, a former environment minister, show the grit needed to confront the powerful interest groups said to be holding the country back?
He gave a clear signal of his determination at his swearing-in ceremony by announcing the liberalisation of non-prescription drug sales - a measure strongly opposed by pharmacists. But the real test will be in implementing more widely unpopular reforms during a politically sensitive year.(...)
Mr Sócrates has set himself ambitious goals. He promises to strengthen the economy - by increasing annual gross domestic product growth from 1 per cent in 2004 to 3 per cent by 2009 - discipline public finances and “overcome the structural blockages hindering our development”.
These aims will not be easily compatible in the short term. He will have to cut public spending and hold down public sector wages to keep the budget deficit under control.
Moving from low-wage textile and shoe manufacturing to what Mr Sócrates calls an economy based on “knowledge, innovation and skills” will mean inevitable job losses. Structural reforms will face vociferous opposition from vested interest groups ranging from doctors, teachers and lawyers to trade unions, the civil service and some big corporate groups.(...)

A fundamental weakness is the poor export performance of Portuguese industry. (...)Imports are the equivalent of 40 per cent of GDP. Productivity is only 64 per cent of the EU average.(...)
Low levels of education lie at the heart of Portugal’s difficulties.(...)In relative terms, Portugal invests more than the EU average in education and the average ratio of one teacher to every nine students is one of the highest in the world. But outcomes are among the worst in Europe. This is largely due, say analysts, to poor organisation, excessive centralisation and cumbrous red tape.(...)
Mr Sócrates aims to cut the school failure rate in half and keep every youngster in school or professional training until they reach 18. If he is successful in these and other promised reforms, voters could only be more grateful if he also brings them rain."