The problem with the quick missions to devise a "memorandum of understanding" associated with a bailout in three weeks is that technicians from EC, ECB and IMF are, very often, not aware of the structural problems of the public finances in the particular country they are analysing. On the other hand their main advantage is that they have a fresh look from the outside. Governments and local politicians, who have been benefiting from the status quo, usually do not address these issues. The problems Portugal are facing today, apart from low economic growth which is a different story, lie on these 10 "capital sins":
1- The structure of federalism: central, regional and local governments
2- The measurement of public debt: European criteria and Eurostat rules.
3- The evolving structure of Central Government Administrations: the autonomous funds and services.
4- The spin-off of general government institutions: the new public sector “enterprises”
5- The Public-Private partnerships: decision-making and accountability
6- The non implementation of a control cost mechanism on Health expenditures.
7- The “bottom up” budgetary process and the Ministry of Finance.
8- The high proportion of pensioners and the inequality of pensions.
9- The non implementation of existing Constitutional rules to constrain expenditure 10- The excessive partisanship of public sector nominations.
As it is clear most of the problems have to do with institutions (either weak or badly designed), so that they will be beyond the scope of EC/ECB/IMF memorandum proposal.