Portugal is to become the third European Union country to exit a bailout programme, following Ireland and Spain.
Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coellho made the announcement on Sunday evening saying, like Dublin he would not be seeking a credit line safety net from the European Central Bank when the financial programme ends later this month.
“May 17 2014 will go down in our history as the day for all Portuguese people, because without your strength we wouldn’t have come so far. It won’t be the day of any government or political party. May 17 will be your day,” said Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coellho.
The decision comes after three years of deeply unpopular austerity measures which even now are not being repealed. However it follows last months successful return to the bond markets – Portugal’s first auction since requesting a 78 billion-euro rescue from the EU and the International Monetary Fund.
Portugal’s exit leaves just Greece as the only eurozone country still in a bailout regime four years after it called for financial help in May 2010.