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“Portugal needs a new direction,” Jose Manuel Durao Barroso said in the run-up to his election as the country’s prime minister last year. “We have to work more; we have to regain our competitiveness abroad,” he added. The new prime minister was to take power at a defining moment in Portugal’s history: for in 2006, 20 years after Portugal first joined the European Union (EU), the country faces the possible loss of EU funding worth hundreds of millions of dollars each year. The new Government had little more than three years to knock the country’s sluggish economy into the kind of shape to ride out the storm.

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