Europe rescue fund says ready to help Portugal – report

PARIS (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 ($34.2 billion) to recapitalize 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 – report