In the beginning of 2012, Michael Darda, chief economist at MKM Partners, dubbed the situation of Greece and Portugal "hopeless". In support of his verdict, Darda cited high debt loads and poor prospects for growth in the two countries. The hopelessness of Portugal, from the perspective of the economists, has to do with what they call "structural problems": a small internal market, the absence of natural resources, bureaucracy that suffocates innovation, an insufficiently qualified workforce with low productivity levels, a poorly functioning legal system and so forth.
Some of these, such as the size of the internal market, may well be intractable. But other problems can be resolved, given a political will to reform the legal system, to invest in education, and to simplify the bureaucratic process at all levels of the Portuguese state machinery.