Germany may be willing to study revising the terms of Portugal’s bailout, Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told his Portuguese counterpart in Brussels in a conversation picked up by Portuguese television.
Germany will “be ready” for an adjustment of the Portuguese program if needed, Schaeuble told Finance Minister Vitor Gaspar at a meeting of European officials yesterday. He added that it was key that a decision first be made on Greece.
“That’s much appreciated,” Gaspar said in a videoclip posted on the website of television station TVI.
Portugal got a 78 billion-euro ($104 billion) bailout from the European Union and International Monetary Fund after a rising budget deficit and public debt drove up borrowing costs. Spending cuts and tax increases to improve the nation’s finances have contributed to a recession, with the EU in November forecasting a 3 percent contraction this year, worse than Greece’s 2.8 percent.
Schaeuble told Gaspar, who worked for six years at the Frankfurt-based European Central Bank, that the German government faces skepticism at home from the public and members of parliament who “don’t believe that our decisions are serious.”