'Approval given' to Portugal bailout

17 May 2011

A €78 billion ($111 billion) bailout package for Portugal has been approved by European finance chiefs.

The officials endorsed the moved as they increased pressure on Greece to focus more on winning improved aid conditions, Bloomberg reports.

It means that €256 billion has now been handed out in state aid to solve the sovereign debt crisis, following similar situations in Greece and Ireland.

Maria Fektar, Austrian finance minister, said: "Greece also has a huge privatization potential and the Greeks should help themselves before calling for more money."

Portugal is to receive the first part of the package - worth €18 billion - either at the end of May or the beginning of June.

Extra money was tied to Greece as Europe's richest countries ordered the nation to deepen spending cuts and create more revenue from asset sales.

News of the Portugal bailout was recently welcomed by the European Central Bank, which endorsed the talks between itself, the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission.

By Tony Aynsley

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