Portugal needs to battle inequality despite economic progress

GMT 06:35 2015 Wednesday ,08 July

Arab Today, arab today Portugal needs to battle inequality despite economic progress

Classify Portugal's Passos Coelho
Lisbon - XINHUA

Portugal's center right coalition has managed to correct imbalances inherited during the current legislature but still faces challenges in fighting in inequality, Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho said Tuesday.

Passos Coelho said during a parliamentary debate in Alcohete, around 35 km south of Lisbon, that Portugal used to be worst-off country in the euro zone, but that it still faces the challenge of inequality.

"Despite what we spent on education and culture, there are still many people who live their lives marked by the fact that they were born in vulnerable environments, with less opportunities and investment in their own futures," Passos Coelho said.

A major study released recently by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) showed that Portugal is among the most unequal and impoverished countries in the euro zone.

Portugal is the ninth most unequal country out of the OECD, with 10 percent of the richest concentrating around 25.9 percent of wealth, and 10 percent of the poorest concentrating 2.6 percent of the wealth.

Portugal had to dramatically raise taxes and cut spending as part of a 78 billion euro (about 86 billion U.S. dollars) bailout package it signed with international lenders in 2011.

The Portuguese economy expanded in the first quarter of 2015 at the highest pace since the end of 2013 due to a slow-down in imports and the acceleration of exports.

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