Exclusive: Euro zone mulls help for Portugal, Ireland market return - sources

Published February 27, 2013

| Reuters

Euro zone governments are discussing ways to help Portugal and Ireland return to the capital markets swiftly and have voiced a preference for delaying the repayment of bailout loans to the two states, sources familiar with discussions said on Wednesday.

The sources quoted from a 15-page discussion paper from the European Commission and the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) that was debated last week by deputy finance ministers from the euro zone.

Finance ministers from the so-called Eurogroup may discuss the matter at their next meeting in Brussels on Monday.

"They are favoring an extension of maturities of the EFSF and EFSM loans in order to avoid bottlenecks in paying back (the loans)," one of the sources with knowledge of the document told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

(Reporting by Matthias Sobolewski, Annika Breidthardt in Berlin and Padraic Halpin in Dublin, Editing by Noah Barkin)

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