Portugal must adopt austerity measures to get loan extension

THE EUROPEAN Commission yesterday told Portugal it must fully implement its austerity programme if it wants more time to repay aid loans, after its constitutional court ruled against four contested measures.

“Continued and determined implementation of the programme...is a precondition for a decision on the lengthening of the maturities of the financial decision to Portugal, which would facilitate Portugal’s return to the financial markets,” the EU executive said.

Meanwhile German financial minister Wolfgang Schaeuble reassured Portugal that it was on its way to regaining access to sovereign bond markets.

“Ireland and Portugal are on the way to regaining market access, within the agreed timeframe of three years,” Schaueble said to the ZEW think-tank in Germany.

But the rising dissent that culminated in the constitutional court’s ruling – which allowed five, but struck down four out of nine disputed austerity measures – has driven the so-called troika of Portugal’s lenders to schedule a Lisbon visit during late April or early May.

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