The great Portuguese sell-off

First Greece was subjugated and forced to yield (still is) national sovereignty, now comes Portugal. One country at a time, the European continent is being captured via economic warfare. Be it the Troika  or the EU itself, all roads lead back to Europe’s powerhouse, Berlin, and it’s Fourth Reich making the capture. With the Vatican undergoing a leadership transition and possible candidate elected this St. Patrick’s Day, we could likely soon see the revived Holy Roman Empire.

Little by little, the Portuguese state is going down in defeat. In April 2011, when the country got a loan of €78bn from the troika (EC, ECB and IMF) to avoid bankruptcy, it committed itself to privatisation. But under the leadership of Passos Coelho, a model student of the fiscal discipline demanded by the troika, the sell-off of the “crown jewels” – what’s left of them, that is – has sped up.

Losing control of their destiny

For the 80,000 or so inhabitants of Viana, like for the rest of the country, the powerful wave of privatisation is causing a lot of worry. “Some of these state enterprises are gems, others are junk buckets, but they’re all strategic assets. And we’re losing them forever,” worries Bernardo S Barbosa, head of the local weekly Aurora do Lima. The Socialist mayor, José Maria Costa, shares a growing national concern: the feeling that the country is losing its sovereignty. In a vast room at City Hall, this engineer by training reacts very angrily to the policy of the executive: “By taking away our public assets, which are so vital, to the benefit of foreign companies, and private interests at that, we’re losing control of our own destiny. I even fear that in the end it will affect our freedom and democracy.”

Around the area, it’s the fate of the naval shipyards (ENVC) that is causing the most anxiety. After the public hospital, the municipality and the German company Enercon (which employs 1,200 people manufacturing wind turbines), ENVC is a major employer in the Upper Minho region. Especially since, once orders do come in, the work at the shipyards has a multiplier effect on all the peripheral businesses – from transport companies to SMEs manufacturing assembly parts, to local businesses. “Since the yards have shut down it’s been a depression around here,” laments hotelier Lucilia Passos Cruz. “When they’re sold off, foreign workers will fill up the restaurants and hotels. All that will be left to us will be tourism and our surfing beaches.”

Full article: The great Portuguese sell-off (Presseurop)

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