LISBON, Portugal – Portugal's finance minister has a message for his government colleagues: don't spend an extra penny without asking me first.
The government is scrambling to find extra spending cuts after the Constitutional Court last week declared unlawful some of the austerity measures included in this year's state budget.
That means the government has to find savings elsewhere to meet budget deficit targets demanded by foreign creditors who gave the country a 78 billion euros ($101.7 billion) bailout two years ago.
An executive decision by Finance Minister Vitor Gaspar's prohibiting new spending was posted on a government website Tuesday. Only salaries and contractually obliged payments can be made in the meantime.
The order will be rescinded only after each government ministry's spending cuts are agreed.