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Portugal cancels holidays after Vatican talks

By Sofia Fernandes and Richard Allen Greene, CNN
May 9, 2012 -- Updated 1434 GMT (2234 HKT)
The Portuguese government has decided to cancel four public holidays in an attempt to boost the economy.
The Portuguese government has decided to cancel four public holidays in an attempt to boost the economy.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Portugal's government consults the Holy See before canceling vacation days
  • The Vatican agrees to the elimination of Corpus Christi and All Saints' Day
  • Two civil holidays will also be cut, the government says
  • Portugal is trying to boost its struggling economy

(CNN) -- Portugal is eliminating four holidays to try to boost its economy, the government announced -- but only after getting the agreement of the Vatican.

The economically struggling European country will stop giving workers a day off for Corpus Christi and All Saints' Day, starting next year, the government said.

It will also eliminate two civil holidays to be fair, the statement said Tuesday.

The center-right government thanked the Holy See and the Portuguese Bishops' Conference for their "constructive approach" to the negotiations.

Portugal and the Vatican will re-evaluate the agreement in five years, the government said.

Economy ministry spokesman Hugo Soares declined to say how cutting the holidays would boost the economy.

The opposition Socialists and Communists did not immediately respond to CNN requests for comment.

Portugal, a largely Catholic country, is struggling with recession and debt. Along with the economies of Greece, Italy, Ireland and Spain, its economy is a cause for concern across the 17 countries that use the euro as their currency.

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