LISBON (AFP) - Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates has announced plans to delay some major public projects to speed up reducing the countrys public deficit this year, local media reported Saturday. The government has decided to reduce the deficit this year to 7.3 percent of GDP, Socrates told Portuguese journalists late Friday after a meeting of eurozone leaders in Brussels. Portugal, which is struggling to fend off comparisons to Greece, had previously said it would cut its public deficit from a record 9.4 percent of output last year to 8.3 percent in 2010. It expects to be under the EU limit of three percent by 2013. To speed up the deficit reduction, the Socialist premier said the goverment would delay several major projects including the construction of a new airport at Lisbon and a third bridge over the river Tage which is aimed at accommodating a future high-speed train link between the Portuguese capital and Madrid. These projects remain absolutely essential to the modernisation of the country but I think that it is sensible to wait for the financial situation to stabilise before launching them, Socrates said. Struggling with tepid growth, debt-laden Portugal is seen as vulnerable to the sort of crippling speculative market pressure that has hobbled Greece. Last week Standard & Poors downgraded Portugals credit rating owing to concerns about fiscal and economic weaknesses. Still analysts maintain that Portuguese solvency is not under threat.