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Portugal says rescue for Greece will help Portuguese

Published on 22/07/2011

The debt rescue for Greece is a "decisive contribution" to steadying the eurozone and to helping Portugal deal with its own debt crisis, Finance Minister Vitor Gaspar said on Friday.

But the minister stressed that even though the agreements reached late on Thursday eased also the debt interest paid by Portugal, the country was still fully committed by tough commitments to reform its budget under its own EU-IMF rescue programme.

The eurozone summit deal “undeniably improved the conditions under which Portugal can develop,” Vitor Gaspar told parliament.

But Portugal’s “determination to respect its international engagements remains as important as before,” Gaspar said.

Eurozone leaders agreed late on Thursday to offer Greece a second bailout in a complex deal involving a significant reduction in interest rates for Portugal and Ireland, the other countries receiving European Union and International Monetary Fund bailout loans.

In May, Portugal committed itself to a 78-billion euro ($112.4-billion) debt rescue programme in which it must engage significant budget reforms and sell-off state assets.

Late on Thursday, Portuguese Prime Minster Pedro Passos Coelho said decisions taken in the new bailout for Greece “significantly increased” the chances for success in Portugal.

But, the Prime Minster said the new conditions should not be a “pretext to slow” Portugal’s reform programme.