17 MAY 2011
By Anabela Reis and James G. Neuger | Bloomberg
European Union finance ministers cleared the way for Portugal to receive 78 billion euros ($110.8 billion) in aid, making it the third euro-area country to fall back on official loans.
The EU’s two bailout funds, the European Financial Stability Facility and European Financial Stabilization Mechanism, will each provide one-third of the assistance, while the International Monetary Fund will contribute the rest, the EU said in a statement after a unanimous vote in Brussels today.
Finance ministers called Portugal’s planned budget cuts “ambitious but credible,” according to the statement. The aid program will run for three years.
Portugal follows Greece and Ireland in requesting a bailout from the EU and International Monetary Fund. Politicians are struggling to convince investors that 256 billion euros in aid to the three countries will be enough to stamp out Europe’s debt crisis and prevent the euro region’s first restructuring.
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