Saturday, April 9, 2011

EU set to offer Portugal $115bn bailout

Source: Press TV

The European Union says Portugal will probably be granted a rescue loan of around 115 billion dollars (80 billion euros) to help the country meet its crushing debt burden.

"At this stage, on the basis of a very, very preliminary estimate, we can say that by and large the program is likely to be in the magnitude of 80 billion euros," DPA quoted EU Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn as saying on Friday.

Rehn spoke after a meeting of eurozone and EU finance ministers in the Hungarian town of Godollo, where Portugal's request for aid was first assessed.

EU ministers said they aimed to approve a loan package by mid-May to allow Portugal to meet huge bond repayments in June.

Rehn said that the program would have to be agreed by all major political parties to ensure that it will be implemented after elections in early June.

Portuguese acting Finance Minister Fernando Teixeira dos Santos welcomed the European Union's offer of a bailout and called on the country's opposition parties to cooperate on striking a deal on the rescue package, saying that a caretaker government "is not enough" to implement the measures requested by the EU.

The Portuguese government asked for EU help in the wake of the resignation of the cabinet on March 23, following parliamentary rejection of the austerity package it had presented to stave off the need for foreign financial assistance.

The country became the third country in the eurozone to request international help, after last year's multibillion-dollar rescue packages for Greece and Ireland from the EU and the IMF.

The European Union and the IMF unveiled an economic rescue package worth 750 billion euros (1 trillion dollars) last year in an effort to prevent debt-stricken countries like Greece and Ireland from plunging into an economic abyss.

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