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Eurogroup approves Ireland, Portugal debt extension

Published on 16/03/2013

Eurozone finance ministers approved early Saturday plans to give bailed-out Ireland and Portugal more time to pay back some of their massive rescue loans.

The ultimate aim of the bailouts is to stabilise the public finances in both countries so that they are eventually able to return to the money markets to raise fresh finance.

The 17-nation eurozone is “determined to support Ireland’s and Portugal’s efforts to regain full market access and successfully exit their well-performing programmes,” the finance ministers said in a statement.

“They have agreed to an adjustment of the maturities of the (European Finance Stability Fund) loans to both countries in order to smooth the debt redemption profiles of those countries,” it added.

Final details will be settled after talks between the two countries and their Troika of creditors — the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and the European Central Bank.

Earlier this month, EU finance ministers requested the Troika to consider extending maturities on the Irish and Portuguese bailout loans.

Ireland and Portugal have made progress in meeting their debt and public finance targets and appear close to returning to the markets, with both having recently sold sovereign bonds.

Easing the terms of their debt repayments will allow them more leeway in managing their recovery.