Por­tuguese op­po­si­tion head warns against fail­ure

Kathimerini English - - Business & Finance -

LIS­BON (Reuters) – The leader of Por­tu­gal’s op­po­si­tion So­cial Democrats warned yes­ter­day the coun­try has no room for fail­ure in meet­ing the aus­ter­ity con­di­tions of its 78-bil­lion-euro bailout from the Euro­pean Union and In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund. So­cial Demo­crat head Pe­dro Pas­sos Coelho has backed the tough con­di­tions of the bailout and could very well end up hav­ing to en­act its terms if he wins a June 5 snap gen­eral elec­tion, which polls cur­rently sug­gest he will. “In the next four years we have no mar­gin of er­ror to ex­e­cute the macroe­co­nomic plan ne­go­ti­ated by the cur­rent gov­ern­ment that is the condi- tion for our des­per­ate ex­ter­nal help,” the cen­ter-right leader told a con­fer­ence. “We have to ful­fill this pro­gram.” Pas­sos Coelho was per­haps mind­ful of Greece’s sit­u­a­tion in his com­ments. Greece be­came the first eu­ro­zone coun­try to seek a bailout, a year ago, but the IMF warned on Wed­nes­day that Athens must re­dou­ble ef­forts to meet its fis­cal pro­gram and Euro­pean of­fi­cials have raised the pos­si­bil­ity of a debt re­struc­tur­ing. months to fund res­cue loans for the two eu­ro­zone na­tions, the EU said yes­ter­day. The an­nounce­ment came two days af­ter the bloc’s fi­nance min­is­ters ap­proved a three-year 78-bil­lion-euro ($111 bil­lion) bailout for Por­tu­gal un­der a pro­gram that re­quires Lis­bon to slash spend­ing and sell pub­lic as­sets. Ire­land was granted its own 67.5-bil­lion-euro bailout late last year af­ter a bank­ing cri­sis blew a mas­sive hole in its pub­lic fi­nances. The EU and its core eu­ro­zone bloc will use two top-rated fi­nan­cial mech­a­nisms to con­duct var­i­ous bor­row­ing op­er­a­tions for the two na­tions be­tween May 23 and July 15. The in­stru­ments is­sued for the two coun­tries “should be mainly in stan­dard bench­mark ma­tu­ri­ties of five to 10 years de- nom­i­nated in eu­ros,” the EU said in a state­ment. The In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund will pro­vide “com­ple­men­tary dis­burse­ments” as agreed un­der the joint EU-IMF res­cues for both na­tions.

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