Portugal is in a serious fiscal situation but has the ability to face current problems which are different from Greece's debt crisis, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said on Friday as Greece requested billions in aid.
Debt-stricken Greece yielded to overwhelming market pressure and appealed to its European partners and the IMF for emergency loans. Portuguese debt has also been hammered of late on concerns over its creditworthiness and some investors see it as the next weak link in the euro zone.
"I think the Portuguese situation is a serious one, but different from Greece's for various reasons, and it has to be faced with responsibility and measures have to be implemented with determination," Barroso told reporters.
"Portugal has conditions to face this situation," he said, adding that it was essential Portugal fulfill its medium-term fiscal consolidation programme that seeks to slash the budget deficit to 2.8 percent in 2013 from last year's 9.4 percent.
He added that the government had also "declared that it is available to take additional measures if needed."
Barroso said Greece's decision to apply for aid was good for Greece and "will be good for stability in Europe."
He said his Commission was working with the European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Greek government on Greek aid adjustment.
"This work obviously is a priority. We'd like it to be concluded as soon as possible, but we don't hide that it's a complex process and we prefer to do it with safety. That's why it wouldn't be right to present dates and more precise elements now," he added.
"And we have to make operational a mechanism that in general lines has been approved and defined, what we have to do now is to see what is the concrete adjustment programme and which conditions will be applied to Greece," Barroso said.
"It's a multi-year programme that demands fairly fine technical work of the European Commission with the IMF," he said.
ReutersLast Mod: 24 Nisan 2010, 11:46