The theme was dominant throughout the year as Portugal and the European Commission seemed to clash endlessly over the anti-austerity budget unveiled by the newly-elected and minority Socialist government.
The EC also seemed to lose further power later in the year as the Brexit vote forced them to reconsider their hardline position against Portugal for the sake of European unity.
The European Commission even within itself seemed to clash over whether Portugal’s draft budget for 2016 complied with the EU’s stringent rules on growth and stability.
Late in January 2016, the EC wrote to Portugal requesting it to make revisions to the Socialist minority government’s first budget.
The document, containing a number of EC-imposed alterations, was eventually handed over to Brussels.
Neither a green nor a red light was given by Brussels, with the 2016 budget eventually given the go ahead, but with reservations.
Reacting to criticism that the EC was pressing Portugal into a new wave of austerity, Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said that the statements of his officials on the draft state budget for 2016 presented by Portugal’s Government were justified by the fact that member states of the Eurozone should keep to the rules laid down by the Stability and Growth Pact.
He came under further criticism for later stating that France, as a big nation, was allowed to breach the EU’s so-called strict budgetary rules.