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Portugal will lose dignity if it seeks bailout: PM

Published on 08/03/2011

Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates on Tuesday said that his country would lose its prestige and dignity if it seeks an Irish-style bailout to solve its debt crisis.

The Socialist premier fought back mounting pressure and expectations that Portugal would be the next in line, after Greece and Ireland, to turn to the International Monetary Fund and the European Union for a rescue.

Portugal “would lose its prestige and (its) dignity of being able to present itself to the world as a country that succeeds in solving its problems,” he said during a political meeting in Viseu, according to the Lusa news agency.

Despite austerity measures to cut its public debt, borrowing costs have been mounting over the past several weeks on bond markets, making it increasingly difficult for Portugal to raise money.

On Monday, Socrates reiterated that Portugal would not seek a financial lifeline as yields on Portuguese 10-year bonds rose above 7.5 percent for the first time since the country adopted the euro.

“When I hear opposition leaders say that the IMF will come sooner or later, that foreign aid is inevitable for our country, I say that there are limits to everything,” he declared.

“Because at the moment, I believe that the responsibility of any political leader is to have confidence in the Portuguese people, confidence in his country,” he added.

Both Greece and Ireland also denied they needed aid before eventually seeking financial lifelines from the IMF and European Union.