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Portugal Committed to Fiscal Reform: Finance Minister

Global Markets
CNBC.com
Global Markets

Portugal is committed to a "very ambitious and comprehensive program of fiscal adjustment and structural reforms," Finance Minister Fernando Teixeira Dos Santos told CNBC Monday.

That commitment will continue no matter which party wins control of the government after a June 5 general election, he said.

"Coming off the election of June 5 we’ll have a strong government to implement the program agreed upon," he said. "The major parties are supporting this program. They are committed to the program and they will have to implement it."

Portugal received a $36.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund Friday as part of a joint bailout with the European Union. It will be subject to periodic review, he said. That "will be enough for the government, whatever the government will be, to implement the program [and] to implement the measures that are foreseen in that program."

Portugal, the minister said, is ready to liberalize its economy through privatization.

"We have a commitment to withdraw any special rights assigned to the state as a shareholder. This is very important for our major companies," he said.

"We want to liberalize markets, mostly on energy [and] on telecommunications. We will be willing to withdraw such special rights from our statutes in such a way that the markets will be more open, more flexible and more competitive."

He said the resignation of Dominique Strauss-Kahn and the IMF succession issue has had little effect on his country, adding, "I don’t think the person who will be the managing director will matter in terms of the attitude of the IMF vis a vis Europe."

More important is maintaining the European Union and the euro as a common currency. He called the euro "the major achievement of European integration since the Second World War...I don’t think Europe can afford losing the euro, and for that reason I believe politicians in Europe will do whatever is necessary to preserve the euro."