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Vítor Gaspar (May 2012)
Minister of Finance
Minister of State
21 June 2011
President Aníbal Cavaco Silva
Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho
Preceded by Fernando Teixeira dos Santos
Born Vítor Louçã Rabaça Gaspar
November 9, 1960 (age 52)
Political party Independent
Alma mater Catholic University of Portugal
Religion Roman Catholic
Vítor Gaspar (born 9 November 1960) was an adviser to the Bank of Portugal since February 2010, having been from 2007 Director-General at the Bureau of European Policy Advisers (ERI) with the President of the European Commission. Previously he was Director-General for Research at the European Central Bank for six years. He is currently the Portuguese Finance Minister since 21 June 2011. Gaspar was awarded a degree in economics by the Universidade Católica Portuguesa (UCP) in 1982, and has a doctorate in economics by the Universidade Nova de Lisboa, awarded in 1988. He is married and has three daughters.
Minister of Finance
He was appointed Portuguese Finance Minister of Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho's cabinet in 21 June 2011. In this capacity, Gaspar's policies included a firm intention to accomplish the European Union/IMF-led rescue plan for Portugal's sovereign debt crisis. The rescue plan included widespread tax increases and reforms aimed at better efficiency and rationalized resource allocation in the public sector, in order to reduce the number of unnecessary civil servants and chronic public sector's overcapacity.
As time went on it became increasingly clear that a series of supplementary measures would be taken during the course of the year as a means to restrain an out-of-control budget deficit. These included sharp cuts in spending on state-run healthcare, education and social security systems, along with widespread tax hikes.
On 18 October 2011, the Portuguese Minister of Finance, Vítor Gaspar, said to the Portuguese television RTP 1, that the wage cuts imposed to public servants the previous week in the presentation of the Sate Budget for 2012, were the only way to avoid a much more painful and complex policy of public servant mass firing. He said that if wage cuts were not enforced, it would be necessary to get rid of about 100 thousand public servants immediately (under the terms of the law, Portuguese public servants were shielded from unemployment, so a number of special derogations would be needed to achieve this).