LISBON (Reuters) - Portugal’s divided parliament may refuse to approve Lisbon’s contribution to new bailout loans for Greece and a European Union aid package to help Turkey deal with the migrant crisis, Prime Minister Antonio Costa said on Saturday.
Costa told journalists the two far-left parties that back his minority Socialist government - the Left Bloc and the Communists - had long opposed the payments and could vote against them.
The main opposition Social Democrats had also said they would reject the aid, Costa said, a stance he called an “irresponsible” change in their past support for the package.
The EU agreed to a 3-billion-euro ($3.35 billion) aid package for Turkey in November, made up partly of money from the EU budget and partly of contributions from member states.
If one country were unable to contribute, the package would not necessarily collapse, but there would be less money in it unless another EU state picked up the slack.
The money for the Greek bailout comes from the European Stability Mechanism, which borrows it on the markets with small national contributions to the fund’s capital.
The Portuguese funding for both is part of this year’s budget, which is still making its way through parliament due to delays following months of political uncertainty and last year’s inconclusive election that ultimately led Costa to power.
“They (the opposition) will say, ah, but the other parties could have a different stance. They could. But they are consistent with what they’ve always been saying and they’d have to change their position,” Costa said in televised remarks answering questions from reporters.
“But the Social Democrats who assumed these responsibilities for the Portuguese state, and who have always supported them, now refuse to approve them ... That is absolutely irresponsible,” he said in Paris after a European Socialist summit.
Portugal, Western Europe’s poorest nation, was supposed to transfer 24 million euros to Turkey under the EU November deal.
Portugal’s scheduled contribution to the Greek loan package totals 107 million euros this year.
($1 = 0.8968 euros)
Reporting By Andrei Khalip; Additional reporting by Paul Taylor in Brussels; Editing by Andrew Heavens
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