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May Deadline Set For Portugal Bailout Package

Portuguese Finance Minister Fernando Teixeira dos Santos talks with the media in Godollo, Hungary, on April 8.
EU finance ministers have agreed on a mid-May deadline to negotiate a bailout after debt-stricken Portugal submitted a form request for a multibillion-euro bailout package.

EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn welcomed the request, which he called "a responsible move for the sake of stability."

Ministers agreed to outline a rescue deal by mid-May for implementation after the country holds its June 5 elections.

"I am very confident of the success of this negotiation, and Portugal will be able to meet its commitments and not miss any one of them in the future," Portuguese Finance Minister Fernando Teixeira dos Santos said in Godollo ahead of the meeting.

"I think Portugal will be in a condition to pay and repay whatever is necessary."

A stringent economic-adjustment program is a key prerequisite for international help -- serving as assurance that the bailed-out country will eventually garner the strength to repay its creditors.

Most analysts expect Portugal to need around 80 billion euros ($114 billion) to cover its costs over the next three years without having to raise money on debt markets at prohibitive rates.

compiled from agency reports