News & Comments

We welcome short entries about relevant European or national developments for this News and Comments section. You are invited to use the contact form for this or to directly contact Thomas Beukers ( or Viorica Vita (

The ECB in check: a case from Portugal on the new Single Supervisory Mechanism – by Nelson Coelho and Diane Fromage (Utrecht University)

June 10, 2016

Nelson Coelho is a PhD Researcher at Utrecht University School of Law; Diane Fromage is an Assistant Professor at Utrecht University School of Law and co-author of the Report on France on this website (This comment first appeared on the blogdroiteuropéen, European Central Bank (ECB) Vice-President Vítor Constâncio was recently invited by the Portuguese […]

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7 July: Commission recommends Council decision establishing no effective action by Spain and Portugal

July 7, 2016

The European Commission has adopted two recommendations to the Council establishing that both Spain and Portugal have failed to take effective action in light of their respective Council recommendations of 21 June 2013. Should the Council take over the recommendation of July 7, the Commission will have to propose what consequences it should have in […]

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12 July: Council decides Spain and Portugal failed to take effective action

July 12, 2016

In an unprecedented decision of 12 July, the ECOFIN Council has decided, in line with the Commission recommendation of 7 July, that both Spain and Portugal have failed to take effective action under the excessive deficit procedure. This is the first time the Council has taken such a decision under article 126(8) TFEU, setting in motion […]

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18 July: Spain and Portugal try to avoid SGP fines

July 18, 2016

Both countries have submitted to the Commission their arguments for only imposing symbolic sanctions, after the Council had decided on12 July thar Spain and Portugal had failed to take effective action on the Council recommendations of June 2013. According to the SGP rules, both countries had a week to convince the Commission not to impose a […]

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20 July: EP wants say over possible suspension of funds

July 20, 2016

EP President Schulz told the European Commission on 20 July that his institution wants to have a say in a decision to suspend structural funds for Spain and Portugal, following the Council's decision of 12 July that both countries have failed to take effective action under the excessive deficit procedure. See the news coverage by Euractiv:

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The ESM, the 3rd Greek package and National Parliaments: Portugal – by Rita De Brito Gião Hanek

December 16, 2015

Rita De Brito Gião Hanek is a lawyer and legal consultant working with governmental and nongovernmental organizations on public law, public international law and international human rights law projects and is also co-author of the Report on Portugal on this website Parliamentary approval of financial assistance provided under the ESM is not required in Portugal. […]

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27 July: no fines for Spain and Portugal

July 28, 2016

The European Commission, making use of discretionary powers it has under the Six Pack of economic governance legislation, recommends not to impose fines (technically: to impose fines of zero euro) on Spain and Portugal because of the fiscal efforts both countries have made (although not meeting the targets) and the social challenges they are facing. The […]

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24 November 2015: President Portugal appoints new Prime Minister

November 24, 2015

President of Portugal Anibal Cavaco Silva appointed Socialist Leader Antonio Costa as the new Prime Minister after the early collapse of the minority right wing government that took office after the elections of October 4. The President asked for guarantees from the leftwing parties, concerning the 2016 budget, EU budgetary rules, Portugal's NATO commitments, the […]

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28 July: IMF self-critical of Greek bailout

July 28, 2016

The Internal Evaluation Office (IEO) of the IMF on Thursday night 28 July has published a highly critical report on the institution's participation in the Greek bailouts. The report on the role of the IMF in the Greek, Irish and Portuguese crises comes at an important moment, as the IMF is still formally to decide on […]

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10 November 2015: minority government Portugal falls after less than 2 weeks

November 10, 2015

A vote of no confidence by 123 out of 230 MPs today brought the Portuguese minority government led by Pedro Passos Coelho down, when both the government program and the budget were rejected. This early exit of the minority government follows the decision by President Cavaco Silva not to have a left-wing coalition government because […]

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3 October: structured dialogue between Commission and EP on suspending funds for Spain and Portugal

October 3, 2016

Following the Council decision of 12 July 2016 that both Spain and Portugal had under the excessive deficit procedure failed to take effective action in response to Council recommendations under article 126(8) TFEU, on 3 October a structured dialogue took place between the Commission and EP on one of the consequences of this decision, namely suspension […]

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30 May 2014: Portuguese Constitutional Court declares pay, pension and welfare cuts unconstitutional

June 24, 2014

See for the Constitutional Court decision in Portuguese (no English translation available).

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8 August: no fines for Spain and Portugal and extension of excessive deficit deadline

August 8, 2016

Following up on its decision of 12 July under article 126(8) TFEU establishing that Spain and Portugal had violated the Stability and Growth Pact, the Council on 8 August has taken a decision imposing a fine on both countries which was however reduced to zero. With regard to the imposition of a fine on Spain, […]

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Portuguese Constitutional Court case law on policy measures implementing MoU

August 18, 2015

The European Constitutional Law Review has published a new article "Asterity measures under judicial scrutiny: the Portuguese constitutional case-law" written by Mariana Canotilho, Teresa Violante and Rui Lanceiro. See also the relevant section of the 'Report on Portugal' by Rita De Brito Gião Hanek and Daniele Gallo on this website.

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17 October: euro area member states present draft budgetary plans

October 17, 2016

All euro area member states – except for Greece – have presented their draft budgetary plans for 2017 in accordance with article 6(1) of Regulation (EU) No. 473/2013. The Commission now has to adopt an opinion on the draft budgetary plans as soon as possible and in any event by 30 November (article 7(1) of […]

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22 January: Portugal presents Draft Budgetary Plans for 2016

January 25, 2016

On Firday 22 January the Portuguese Government has presented its draft budgetary plans for 2016 to the European Commission, after months of delay caused by parliamentary elections and the appointment of a new government.

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25 October: Commission asks clarification on euro area member state budgetary plans

October 25, 2016

The European Commission has asked several euro area member states for clarification on their draft budgetary plans for 2017, relating to issues such as reassurances on the behaviour of incoming governments, clarification on demands for flexibility, compliance risks with the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP). All member states apart from Greece presented their plans in accordance with article 6(1) […]

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5 February: Commission presents opinion on Portuguese draft budgetary plans

February 5, 2016

On 5 February the European Commission has presented its opinion on the Portuguese draft budgetary plans for 2016, calling for extra measures, but not requiring Portugal to submit a new draft. Portugal, due to general elections in October 2015, had failed to comply with the obligation to submit its plans by 15 October (Regulation 473/2013), […]

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21 November: Commission presents ex post evaluation of Portuguese financial assistance programme

November 22, 2016

A team of economists of the European Commission has carried out an ex post evaluation of the three year EU/IMF financial assistance for Portugal, which ended in May 2014. Lessons are drawn for the future on issues such as the importance of a focus on the most macro-critical weaknesses affecting the functioning of the economy […]

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11 February: Eurogroup supports Commission view on Portuguese budget

February 11, 2016

In a statement following its 11 February meeting, the Eurogroup supports the Commission's view on the Portuguese draft budgetary plans for 2016. The full statement by the Eurogroup reads: "Today, the Eurogroup discussed the Draft Budgetary Plan (DBP) of Portugal, submitted on 22 January, on the basis of the Commission's Opinion, which was published on […]

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4 February: Statement on Third Post-Programme Surveillance mission to Portugal

February 4, 2016

Staff from the European Commission, in liaison with staff from the European Central Bank (ECB), visited Portugal from 25 January to 2 February to conduct the third post-programme surveillance (PPS) mission. On 4 February the institutions issued a joint statement: "Economic and financial conditions in Portugal have remained broadly stable since the conclusion of the second post-programme […]

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24 February: Portugal adopts 2016 budget

February 24, 2016

After delay caused by the October 2015 general elections, and after a – delayed – interaction with the European Commission over its draft budgetary plans, including this Commission opinion, on 24 February Portugal has adopted its 2016 budget. See Euractiv for further news coverage.

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18 May: Commission proposes to give Spain and Portugal more time to correct deficit

May 18, 2016

In its 2016 European Semester Country Specific Recommendations on 18 May 2016, the European Commission has proposed to give both Spain and Portugal an extra year to correct its excessive deficit under the excessive deficit procedure: "As regards Portugal and Spain, the Commission recommends to the Council to recommend a durable correction of the excessive […]

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