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Portuguese PM urges quick passage of rescue fund changes

Portugal’s prime minister Wednesday urged eurozone nations to quickly approve changes to the region’s rescue fund to boost market confidence in Europe’s ability to tackle its debt crisis.

European leaders at a summit on July 21 approved a new bailout for Greece, and also to allow the eurozone’s current rescue fund, the European Financial Stability Facility, to buy bonds in the secondary market and to allow it to lend to governments not only under bailout programmes.

One of the reasons for recent market volatility is that many national parliaments in the eurozone still need to approve the changes to the fund.

Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho warned that delays in approving the changes to the fund could lead some to believe “that there is not such a strong decision as is needed on the European side to solve the crisis.”

“We need to enact a more robust communication so that markets beleive that Europe will beat the vicissitudes of the crisis,” he told a joint news conference with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

“This joint response is even more improtant for nations like Portugal, which have received a bailout,” he added.

In April Portugal became the third eurozone country after Greece and Ireland to request an emergency bailout from the EU and the International Monetary Fund to deal with its mountain of debt.

Passos Coelho said Portugal is determined to abide by the strict terms of the 78-billion-euro (113-billion-dollar) bailout package which it is receiving in tranches.