Portugal prime minister says reforms are only way

LISBON Mon Nov 12, 2012 10:38am EST

LISBON Nov 12 (Reuters) - Portugal's only option is to continue with tough economic reforms, Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho said on Monday during a visit to the bailed out country by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

"We know that the social situation is difficult and that it is easier to talk about reform than carrying it out," Passos Coelho told journalists in a joint press conference with Merkel after a working lunch at a fort on the coast outside Lisbon. "We are aware of the difficulties but we think this is the only way forward."

Merkel arrived in Lisbon on Monday on a one-day visit during which she endorsed Portugal's reform efforts under a 78-billion-euro bailout, which has led to the deepest economic slump since the 1970s.

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