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Brussels, 2 July 2013
Statement by Vice President Rehn
"I wish to express my deep appreciation for the valuable work carried out by Vitor Gaspar as Portuguese finance minister. He has shown unwavering commitment to the goals of the economic adjustment programme since taking office in June 2011. And he has helped to ensure the adoption of many difficult but necessary measures to restore confidence in the sustainability of public finances, in a very challenging external environment.
I am confident that Maria Luís Albuquerque will show similar commitment and determination. She has a strong grasp of economic policy and has been a key figure working alongside Vitor Gaspar in the Portuguese Finance Ministry through these hard years. I look forward to working with her in her new capacity and have no doubt that she will ensure a seamless transition.
Portugal is approaching the final phase of its programme. Much has been achieved in terms of consolidating public finances, restoring financial stability, and adopting structural reforms for competitiveness and job creation. Yet important challenges remain, not least the need to bring down the very high levels of unemployment. That is why it is essential to maintain the tempo of reform and to work to broaden support for the programme, which will enhance international confidence in the achievement of its objectives. Europe has confirmed its solidarity with Portugal through the recent decision to extend the EFSM and EFSF loan maturities. The Commission will continue to support Portugal's efforts to return to sustainable growth and achieve full market access."