Portugal bailout: Who's Europe rescuing, and by how much?
Portugal announced today that it would seek a bailout from the European Union, becoming the fourth country in western Europe to request a financial rescue package. Here's a look at the financial rescue packages for Iceland, Portugal, Ireland, Greece, and Spain.
Greece, $142 billion
Greece, long considered the “Achilles heel” of the eurozone, was the first eurozone member (ever) to receive a bailout specifically from the European Union (Iceland was bailed out by the IMF). When the prospect of a bailout was first discussed, its budget deficit – $419 billion, or 12.7 percent of its total budget – was four times the limit permitted for eurozone countries, and concern over its financial health was dragging down the value of the euro. EU leaders were divided over whether to bail out Greece or wait and see if the nation's own spending cuts and financial reforms were able to chip away at the deficit.
In the end, Greece received a $142 billion bailout in May 2010, with about $80 billion of that coming from the eurozone members. The rest came from the IMF. The bailout came with instructions to implement serious austerity measures.
Greece’s debt crisis raised concern about three other European countries with lagging economies: Portugal, Ireland, and Spain. The EU created a $955 billion rescue fund, although the hope was that stringent financial measures that came along as a condition of the bailout would encourage governments to shape up before a financial rescue became necessary.