"We have an atomic bomb that we can use in the face of the Germans and the French: this atomic bomb is simply that we won't pay," said Pedro Nuno Santos, vice-president of the Socialist Party in the parliament.
"Debt is our only weapon and we must use it to impose better conditions, because recession itself is what is stopping us complying with the (EU-IMF Troika) accord. We should make the legs of the German bankers tremble," he said.
The comments came as Portugal slides deeper into recession, with the economy expected to contract by 3pc next year. Protesters marched through Lisbon on Thursday denouncing plans by the new conservative government to raise the working week to 42 hours. Wages are being cut 16pc for higher paid, and 8pc for lower paid public workers.
The parliament passed a fresh austerity budget earlier this month under the terms of its €78bn loan package from the EU and the International Monetary Fund.
Mr Nuno Santos said Europe's southern states should join forces to resist the austerity dictates and contractionary policies being imposed by the core powers. "It is incomprehensible that the peripheral countries don't do what the French president and the German Chancellor do. They should unite," he said. By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, International business editor, in telegraph (um alerta publico de JAM na SIC Noticias às 21H)