EU keeps close eye on fragile Portugal as it goes for growth

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Europe's top official for economic affairs says he is monitoring Portugal's new government closely to make sure the debt-heavy country's financial troubles don't return as it tries to shift its policy focus from austerity to growth.

Pierre Moscovici says he will be working with Lisbon officials through mid-April, and in May the European Commission will decide whether Portugal needs to make additional spending cuts this year.

Moscovici said during a visit to Lisbon on Thursday he wants Portugal to turn into a "success story" after it needed a 78 billion-euro ($88 billion) bailout in 2011. He noted it still faces risks amid frail growth at home and in much of the rest of Europe.

A center-left Socialist government is reversing some of the cutbacks made after the bailout.