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UPDATE 1-ECB's Costa says main challenge for Portugal is finance

LISBON, Nov 12 (Reuters) - European Central Bank governing council member Carlos Costa said on Friday that the main challenge for Portugal's economy is financing, adding that financial markets have doubts on the country due to its track record. "The greatest challenge is financing and access to financial markets," Costa, who is also governor of the Bank of Portugal, told a conference. "Markets have doubts, due to our past track record, over Portugal's capacity to restructure." Costa also told a conference that the country needs to ensure that it can meet budget goals and that there needs to be cross-party political agreement on multi-year targets on debt and budget deficits. "It is extremely important to guarantee that through democratic alteration (of government) the country's goals are not changed," he said. Many concerns over Portugal in the past few weeks have focussed on the fact that the minority Socialist government struggled to secure the support of the opposition to back its austere 2011 budget in parliament. The Socialist government is aiming to cut the budget deficit to 4.6 percent of gross domestic product next year from 7.3 percent this year. "There have to be multi-year commitments based on political agreements," Costa said. "It is important that commitment is clear and transparent." (Reporting by Sergio Goncalves; writing by Axel Bugge; Editing by Ruth Pitchford) Keywords: ECB COSTA/ (Axel.Bugge@Reuters.Com, +351-213-509-201, Reuters Messaging: axel.bugge.reuters.com@reuters.net) COPYRIGHT Copyright Thomson Reuters 2010. All rights reserved.

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