Portugal will receive its last tranche of aid funds form the eurozone inJune, the bloc's rescue fund EFSF said Thursday, as the debt-hit country gets ready toemerge from a multi-billion euro bailout programme.
The final disbursement of bailout money amounting to 1.2 billion euros ($1.7billion) was approved on Thursday by the eurozone."As we approve the final EFSF disbursement to Portugal, I am very pleased to see thecountry’s achievements under the financial assistance programme," said KlausRegling, who heads the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF)."Three years ago Portugal had lost market access. After a painful but necessaryeconomic adjustment the country is now starting to see benefits as imbalances arebeing corrected and credibility has been regained," he added.Portugal had obtained a rescue package worth 78 billion euros three years ago toavert default, after decades of ballooning wages and state spending led to a massivebuild-up of public debt.It is due to exit the bailout package on May 17 after having doggedly carried outreforms including sweeping job, pay and pension cuts required by its creditors.On Wednesday, it breezed through a key bond market test, enjoying sharply lowerborrowing costs compared to the height of the crisis."The upcoming end of the programme is not the end of the reform process. Manychallenges remain," said Regling, adding however that Portugal is now "in a goodposition" to tackle them.