Finance minister’s “cry for help”

Published on 16 February 2011 at 12:14

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The sovereign debt alarm bells sounded yesterday in Lisbon, worries Portuguese daily i. With interest on national debt above 7% for the eighth consecutive day, finance minister Teixeira dos Santos was summoned to an emergency meeting with President Aníbal Cavaco Silva to outline government strategy to cope with staggering rates and the imminent switching off of ECB aid. Cavaco Silva is concerned that Portugal may shortly be forced to accept an EU/IMF bailout of the European fund/IMF, a scenario all the more likely after Brussels announced that the 500 billion euros supposed to buttress the European Financial Stability Fund will only be available in 2013. “But 2013 may be too late for the government,” the Lisbon daily notes. Prior to the 14 February ECOFIN gathering of EU27 finance ministers in Brussels, dos Santos complained of "delay and hesitation": "It's a process that is proving to be, in my opinion, more time consuming than desirable”, he said. An economics specialist talking to i qualified the minister’s “cry for help” as “desperate”.

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