EU ministers approve debt extension for Ireland and Portugal

Decision follows Cyprus deal

EU finance ministers in Brussels earlier this month.  Photograph: Eric Vidal

EU finance ministers in Brussels earlier this month. Photograph: Eric Vidal

Mon, Mar 18, 2013, 00:53

Finance ministers of the 17 euro zone states confirmed their commitment to adjust the maturities of the EFSF loans which contributed to the bailouts of Ireland and Portugal.

Following agreement on a bailout for Cyprus, the euro group said that technical details would be presented to ministers at the same time as the memorandum of understanding on the Cypriot adjustment programme.

While details surrounding the next stage of the Cypriot bailout are in flux following the Cypriot president’s decision to postpone a parliamentary debate on the issue yesterday, it is envisaged that member states which require ratification of the agreement to lengthen the maturities will do so at the same time as the Cypriot bailout is presented.

The final detail of the proposal to adjust the maturities of Irish and Portuguese debt will be presented to euro zone finance ministers meeting in Dublin in mid-April. While the euro group has endorsed the adjustment, the key issue is how far the adjustment will go. Ireland's success in raising 10-year debt last week has underlined a belief in some quarters that Ireland’s case for further debt relief has weakened.