EU's Rehn confident of Portugal deal Monday

13th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

The European Union's economic affairs chief said on Friday he was confident that finance ministers would approve a bailout deal for Portugal next week despite conditions set by Finland.

Finland's two biggest parties agreed this week to back the 78-billion-euro ($110 billion) EU-IMF rescue programme for Portugal after the second-largest party, the Social Democrats, convinced the conservative National Coalition to attach clauses for greater investor responsibility.

The European Commission "welcomes the agreement reached in Finland to support the decision on the programme of economic assessment for Portugal," said EU Economy Commissioner Olli Rehn.

"It is a responsible decision that will contribute to safeguard financial stability in Europe and in Finland," Rehn said.

Finance ministers of the 17-nation eurozone will meet on Monday, followed by a meeting with their colleagues from the 10 other EU states, on Monday and Tuesday to back the bailout for Portugal.

Rehn refused to talk of Finnish "conditions," saying he saw them as "proposals."

"I consider them constructive. We are currently assessing these proposals and they will contribute to the debate in the Eurogroup on Monday on the basis of our assessment," he said.

"I am confident that the decision on the economic assessment programme for Portugal will be made on Monday," he said during a presentation of the EU's economic forecast.

Finland is the only EU country that needs its parliament's approval of Portugal's rescue package, and one of only six eurozone countries to have a triple-A credit rating, making it a crucial backer of EU bailout packages.

Its participation in the Portuguese bailout had been thrown in doubt after the anti-EU True Finns party finished a strong third in the April elections.

The nationalist party decided on Thursday to stay out of the new government, one day after the deal on Portugal was announced.

© 2011 AFP

0 Comments To This Article