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Council Implementing Decision of 29 March 2012 amending Implementing Decision 2011/344/EU on granting Union financial assistance to Portugal (2012/224/EU)

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Council Implementing Decision

of 29 March 2012

amending Implementing Decision 2011/344/EU on granting Union financial assistance to Portugal

(2012/224/EU)

THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,

Having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

Having regard to Council Regulation (EU) No 407/2010 of 11 May 2010 establishing a European financial stabilisation mechanism(1), and in particular Article 3(2) thereof,

Having regard to the proposal from the European Commission,

Whereas:

(1) In line with Article 3(9) of Council Implementing Decision 2011/344/EU(2), the Commission, together with the International Monetary Fund and in liaison with the European Central Bank, has conducted the third review of the Portuguese authorities’ progress on the implementation of the agreed measures under the economic and financial adjustment programme (Programme) as well as of their effectiveness and economic and social impact.

(2) The review has found that Portugal’s compliance with the conditionality for the fourth quarter of 2011 was satisfactory. In 2011, the general government deficit fell below the target of 5,9 % of GDP and it is now estimated at around 4 % of GDP, albeit by exceptionally resorting to a transfer of about EUR 6 billion (about 3,5 % of GDP) of the banks’ pension funds to the State social security system. The 2012 budget is consistent with meeting the deficit target of 4,5 % of GDP in line with the Programme. Policy efforts to support financial system stability continue. Portuguese banks work towards meeting the higher capital requirements as required by the Programme, taking into account the implications of the European Banking Authority’s requirement for a new temporary capital buffer for sovereign exposures, the special on-site inspection programme and the transfer of the banks’ pension funds to the State social security system. Labour and product market reforms are also progressing: an agreement was reached with social partners on a broad and ambitious labour market reform and a significant revision of the competition legal framework has been submitted to the Parliament which will create conditions for an effective competition enforcement regime. The privatisation programme is being implemented under a new framework law. The energy company EDP and the energy network company REN have been sold. A strategy to restructure state-owned enterprises (SOEs) has been put in place. The legal framework for public procurement is being improved and the modernisation of the legal framework for the housing market is underway. The reform of the judicial system is making good progress.

(3) In the light of these developments, Implementing Decision 2011/344/EU should be amended,

HAS ADOPTED THIS DECISION:

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