14 Apr 2013

Payment terms extended for Portugal and Ireland

5:24 am on 14 April 2013

Portugal and Ireland are to be granted an extra seven years to repay emergency bailout loans.

The European Union and the International Monetary Fund bailed out the Republic of Ireland in 2010 and Portugal in 2011.

A meeting of EU finance ministers in Dublin also said a bailout loan of 10 billion euro for Cyprus was ready for approval by member states.

That could happen by the end of the month and the first funds could be released by mid-May if the IMF also gives the go-ahead.

The plan for Ireland and Portugal is intended to give their financial systems more time to recover from the debt crisis after their bailout loans run out.

Ireland's bailout money will run out later this year, and Portugal's will run out in 2014.

The BBC reports the extension is especially important for Portugal which pledged to take various budget measures to reduce public spending when it received a bailout of 78 billion euro two years ago.

However, last Saturday, the Constitutional Court ruled that several of measures in the 2013 budget were unlawful.

If Portugal drops the measures because of this, it may not remain eligible for more funds under its bailout.

On Thursday, it emerged that Cyprus will need to raise an extra 6 billion euros to secure the 10 billion euro bailout from Brussels and the IMF.

A draft document prepared by the country's creditors said the cost of the rescue has risen to 23 billion euros from 17.5 billion, with Cyprus now having to find 13 billion of this.