Plan for Portugal needed before May 16: PM
A bailout plan for Portugal should be drafted by mid-May to present to eurozone finance ministers, with negotiations to be quick but discreet, outgoing Prime Minister Jose Socrates said on Thursday.
Officials from the "troika" of the European Central Bank, European Union and International Monetary Fund are currently in Lisbon negotiating the terms of financial rescue package expected to total nearly 80 billion euros ($118 billion).
"We must make an effort to have an agreement between the Portuguese authorities and the troika to submit it to the Ecofin on May 16. That is very important so European institutions can review the programme," Socrates said on private radio station TSF.
"The negotiations should be rapid but discreet," he said when asked about the talks, adding that the Portuguese government would do its best to make sure the programme would have as little social impact as possible.
Portugal was forced to ask for a bailout last month after Socrates' government resigned following a parliamentary dispute and rejection of a fourth round of austerity measures.
Investors had been steadily asking for higher rates of return to lend money to Portugal, which has to roll over billions in maturing debt this year and still has a persistent budget deficit.
Lisbon has to have the bailout package in place by June 15 when it has to repay nearly 5.0 billion euros ($7.3 billion) in maturing debt.
© 2011 AFP