Spain has announced it is to exit its EU/IMF bank bailout programme.
Madrid borrowed 41 billion euros last year to rescue many of its banks crippled by bad loans after the collapse of a property and construction bubble.
The country has now met the conditions of its aid programme and its banking sector has “significantly improved” according to euro zone finance ministers.
It follows an announcement by Ireland that it will also exit the bailout next month.
At a news conference in Brussels ministers welcomed Spain’s decision, hailing it a success for the Eurogroup.
Head of Eurogroup, Jeroen Disjsselboem, said: “These two countries are an example of how a programme can work, and should work. So I think that’s a good sign. Of course at the outstart of the whole crisis management of the euro zone this was all new, it was all ‘terra incognita’, it all had to be worked out, and we’ve now had two good experiences, successful experiences, and I think that’s very important.”
At the same meeting, Finance ministers urged Greece to speed up its reforms and privatisation in order to receive more international loans to stop it defaulting on its debt.