Europe rescue fund says ready to help Portugal – paper

* EFSF ready to help Portugal if needed, president says

* Opposed to private funds backing Irish banking sector

PARIS, April 2 (Reuters) – The European Financial Stability
Facility (EFSF) rescue fund is ready to help Portugal if needed,
Klaus Regling, the fund’s president told La Tribune in an
interview published online on Saturday.

Portugal, whose prime minister resigned after failing to get
a new austerity package approved by parliament, is regarded as
the next country which could need external financial help after
Greece and Ireland.

“Portugal is living an internal political feud. We will see
if they ask for help or not. If they do, we are ready,” Regling
told La Tribune.

Meanwhile, Ireland said on Thursday it needed an extra 24
billion euros to recapitalise its banking system and draw a line
under a legacy of reckless spending that has forced it into an
EU-IMF bailout.

Regarding Ireland, Regling said the 35 billion euros
earmarked as part of the programme negotiated in 2010 to help
the country’s banking sector, should be sufficient.

“The money is there, as long as we stay within these limits,
the programme is sustainable,” Regling said.

Regling said he was opposed to having private lenders take
part in Ireland’s debt restructuring.

“We are going through a particularly difficult period,
especially for three countries Greece, Ireland and Portugal. But
if you take the euro zone as a whole, we have passed a certain
mark… The euro as such is no longer being put into question.”

(Reporting by Astrid Wendlandt; Editing by Ron Askew)

Europe rescue fund says ready to help Portugal – paper