Portugal needs work on finances in return for EU aid: France

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Portugal needs to rein in its spending if it wants to get the financial assistance it plans to request from the European Union, French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said Thursday.

Asked by reporters if Lisbon needed to make "efforts" to sort out its public finances, she replied: "Yes, of course."

Lagarde said that now that Portugal's request was confirmed, "we now need to get mobilised and examine the conditions under which the loan will be made.

"I am leaving for Budapest tonight and we will get down to that from tomorrow morning" at an EU finance ministers' meeting in the Hungarian capital, Lagarde said during a visit to Issoire in central France.

Portugal's Prime Minister Jose Socrates said late Wednesday the government had finally decided to seek EU help to resolve its debt woes, paving the way for a third bailout of a eurozone country after Ireland and Greece last year.

© 2011 AFP

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