Troika set to visit Portugal

City A.M. Reporter
OFFICIALS from the European Commission, European Central Bank and IMF will visit Lisbon today for talks on an €80bn (£70.7bn) bailout for Portugal, a commission spokesman said at the weekend.

The mission will lay the groundwork for political-level talks between the so-called “troika” and Portugal’s political parties the following week, the spokesman said.

The experts will meet tomorrow with Portuguese finance ministry officials to discuss the “technical details” of the plan, he added.

The European Union and IMF offered to save Portugal from a debt crisis on Friday but warned that in return Lisbon would have to implement more public spending cuts, tax rises and far-reaching privatisations.

The commission hopes to meet with all of Portugal’s political parties to discuss the rescue programme ahead of snap elections on 5 June.

“The goal is to have the strongest possible consensus and a clear commitment, whatever the outcome of the elections,” the spokesman said.

“A political meeting of EU Commission representatives with different Portuguese political parties will take place [next week],” he said.

Socialist prime minister Jose Socrates asked for the bailout after parliament last month rejected austerity measures proposed by his minority government, prompting his resignation.

Portugal is the third Eurozone country to go cap in hand to the EU and IMF after Greece and Ireland received multi-billion euro bailouts last year.

Portugal has received bailouts from the IMF twice before - in the late 1970s and early 1980s.