The Hungarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union is ready to immediately help Portugal, said András Kármán, Minister of State for Taxation and Financial Policy Affairs at a background press briefing on 7 April in Budapest.
The Hungarian Presidency wants to emphasise the importance of solidarity with Portugal, said Mr. Kármán. Announcing the Portuguese will to seek EU financial assistance, acting Prime Minister José Sócrates made a responsible move in order to safeguard financial stability in his country and in the eurozone, he added. The legal and financial structure, necessary to deal with a formal request from Portugal, is already firmly in place in the European Union since 2010, Mr Kármán stressed.
Following the Hungarian Presidency's discussions with the President of the European Council, convening an extraordinary European Council was not necessary. From a legal point of view, the Eurogroup and the Council of Ministers can take all necessary decisions in this regard, and the Presidency will make sure that the issue is put on the agenda without undue delay, said Mr Kármán.
The Hungarian Presidency is certainly aware of its role, it cannot and does not want to go beyond its scope of authority. It is clear that the same procedure should be applied as in the case of the Irish bailout in 2010. Once Portugal submits its formal request for EU assistance, the Commission will scrutinise it and the Council takes a decision afterwards.
The issue will be discussed at an informal meeting of finance ministers starting on Friday in Gödöllő, Hungary.