Pages 6

MARIA HELENA SERÔDIO By the beginning of 2000 there were major signs in Portugal of an imminent crisis

in both the political and the cultural spheres. It was the beginning of a second term

for the Socialist Party’s programme, intended to implement a kind of a modest Wel-

fare State, but the many contradictions arising out of different strategies – even within

the party itself – made it difficult to form a clear policy. An ambiguous policy could

hardly survive some hard facts it had to face: tough rules prescribed by the European

Community, a decline in economic growth (factories closing and fields left untilled,

with claims in both cases that the cost of production would be too high), low

productivity, an inefficient managerial class, a tax policy favouring fiscal evasion

for the big enterprises and penalising workers. The difficult financial situation brought

the inevitable social disquiet, and the cultural realm was bound to be affected.