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Portugal backs Germany on debt deal for Greece

Published on 20/02/2015

Portuguese Finance Minister Maria Luis Albuquerque insisted in a German newspaper interview on Friday that Greece must fulfil the current conditions of its international bailout.

“There is a framework within which we are prepared to talk to the Greek government. That framework is the current aid programme, which is up for extension,” Albuquerque told the business daily Handelsblatt.

“But we are not prepared to talk under any other conditions. Everyone is agreed on this, all the 18 other eurozone countries, as well as the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund,” the minister added.

Her comments put her firmly behind Germany in its insistence that Athens accept further austerity in return for more aid.

Finance ministers from the 19-member eurozone are meeting in Brussels later Friday to consider a take-it-or-leave-it proposal by Athens to extend its European loan programme that expires at the end of the month.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has slammed the request as “not a substantial proposal for a solution.”

Albuquerque agreed that the bailout could not simply be extended without any conditions.

“That’s not possible for anyone else in the world, neither for Greece nor Portugal, not for you or me,” she said.

“If I ask a bank for a loan, I must commit myself to paying it back. And I have to offer security. There’s no other way of doing it.”

Portugal, too, benefitted from a bailout by its eurozone partners and pushed through painful reforms to repair its troubled its finances and economy in return.