Today's Financial times published a letter from me and Luis Garicano. It is pasted below:
The European Union’s urge to have the main Portuguese parties sign a comprehensive rescue plan before the general election (report, April 19) is misguided, as it affronts democratic values and provides an opening for populist parties to rise. International institutions must learn the lessons from Ireland’s rescue, including showing respect for the political process. It would suffice to have a two-month bridge loan that comes due very soon after the election, at a punitive interest rate, coupled with a written commitment from the main parties to hit a multi-year deficit target. The Portuguese could then choose what mix of higher taxes and lower spending they want when casting their votes in the election. Paying an interest rate close to the current market values on a two-month loan is a cost the Portuguese should be willing to pay to keep their right to vote, and the EU’s rescue plan would gain legitimacy and a lower risk of future renegotiation.