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Portugal hopefully last of eurozone woes: Greece

Published on 07/04/2011

Portugal's call for an EU financial lifeline after Greece and Ireland were bailed out will hopefully be the last in the troubled eurozone, the Greek finance minister said on Thursday.

“Now it is quite possible that the fear of the market and the uncertainty will come to an end once also Portugal has access to the EU facility and fears of contagion will stop,” George Papaconstantinou told AFP in an interview.

“We will maybe enter a normalisation phase,” the minister said.

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.

Analysts have said Portugal could require a package worth 70 billion euros (100 billion dollars), compared with 85 billion euros for Ireland and 110 billion euros for Greece.

“It’s not easy to be in a position to have to ask for help,” Papaconstantinou said, adding: “Portugal has taken many measures and has announced a very bold multi-year (austerity) programme.”

The minister declined to offer any advice to Lisbon on what pitfalls to avoid in the drafting of its rescue package.

“I never give advice to other governments on such difficult decisions as this one,” he said.