EU Finance Ministers approve bail-out package for Portugal

17 May 2011

Brussels, Belgium, 17 May – Euro Zone and European Union (EU) Finance ministers Monday in Brussels approved a 78 billion-euros bail-out package for Portugal over three years, noting that the programme negotiated with the Lisbon authorities was “ambitious.”

In a statement published in Brussels following a meeting of the Eurogroup (17 Euro Zone member countries) extended to the remaining (10) EU member-states, at which Portugal’s financial aid programme was approved, the European finance ministers also noted that the programme, “safeguards the most vulnerable groups in Portuguese society.”

The financial aid package for Portugal totals 78 billion euros, split into three equal tranches of 26 billion euros, by the European Financial Stability Fund (supported by the Euro Zone countries), by the European Financial Stability Facility (the EU, via its community budget) and by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The Finance Ministers said in their statement that the programme was based on three major pillars, specifically ambitious budgetary adjustment to restore budgetary sustainability, growth and competitiveness to support reforms by removing inflexibility in product and labour markets and, finally, measures to maintain the liquidity and solvency of the financial sector.

Portuguese finance minister, Fernando Teixeira dos Santos, said that the first tranche of aid, worth 18 billion euros, was expected to be handed over to Portugal at the end of May or beginning of June. (macauhub)