Concern weighs heavily on Portugal on day two of the EU leaders’ summit, as its prime minister, Jose Socrates, resigned on Wednesday, a victim of his country’s debt crisis austerity measures. The leaders in Brussels have agreed to finalise euro aid mechanisms in June; Germany has secured a concession to begin paying installments towards those funds two years from now.
Worry about Portugal has heightened obstacles for the euro single currency bloc. Senior euro zone officials said Portugal was likely to need 60-80 billion euros in assistance from the EU rescue fund and the International Monetary Fund.
Pressure is also on to reinforce an EU response to Libya, now with NATO involved. French President Nicholas Sarkozy has stressed a need for political coordination.
Following Japan’s earthquake and tsunami related nuclear accident, Europe’s future policy on atomic power is also under debate, with increasing focus being placed on testing European plants’ reliability.