Portugal to Abolish Four Holidays to Combat Crisis
May 10th, 2012
Following the Spanish Government’s introduction, earlier this year, of a huge package of spending cuts and tax increases in an austerity move which included proposing to move most holidays away from midweek to Mondays in order to cut time off work and increase productivity, the Portuguese Government has now followed suit and confirmed the axing of four of their fourteen national holidays, from 2013, with the aim of combating the crisis facing their country.
In a statement, El Economista reported that the conservative Portuguese Government explained that the holidays in question are two public and two religious, as they had put forward late last year.
The 5th October, when they commemorate the 1910 proclamation of the Republic in Portugal, and 1st December, which is the celebration of the restoration of Portuguese independence in 1640 after 60 years of Spanish rule, are the two public holidays affected.
The religious holidays affected are 1st November, All Saints Day, and Corpus Christi, which is celebrated 60 days after Easter Sunday.
Under an agreement released on Wednesday between the Vatican and the Portuguese Government, the suspension of both these holidays will remain in force for the next five years.
The Vatican said, in a statement distributed in Portugal, that the solemn celebration of Corpus Christi will move from Thursday to the following Sunday, while All Saints Day on 1st November will be maintained, “but without the character of a public holiday.”
According to the Catholic church, the agreement is to “meet the wishes of the Portuguese Government in seeking a solution to the serious economic and financial crisis the country is in”.
Portugal is under the harsh conditions of a 78,000 million euros international loan granted in May 2011 by the EU and the International Monetary Fund.
An increase in taxes, cuts in social services, and public investment are some of the measures included in the austerity plan that aims to consolidate the country’s accounts.
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