Portugal to forgo public holidays in austerity drive
From online dispatches
A homeless person sleeps among placards before the May Day workers march in Lisbon, Tuesday, May 1, 2012. The placards read in Portuguese: 'Fear', 'Danger', 'Steps from the Abyss' and 'Full of Rage.' AP photoPortugal has decided to scrap four of its 14 public holidays in an effort to deal with its economic crisis, BBC reported yesterday.
Two religious festivals and two public holidays would be suspended for five years, starting in 2013, the report said.
The country received a 78 bn euro bailout from the EU, the EU Central Bank and the IMF last year and passed new measures to cut its spending. It has already cut public sector wages and raised taxes to deal with its economic crisis.
The Portuguese government hopes to further improve its competetiveness and boost economic activity by suspending the public holidays.
The four days affected are All Saints Day on 1 November; Corpus Christi, which falls 60 days after Easter; 5 October, which commemorates the formation of the Portuguese Republic in 1910; and 1 December, which marks Portuguese independence from Spanish rule in 1640.
The decision to cut the Catholic festivals was negotiated with Vatican.