BBC News, 25 March 2011
European leaders have agreed a restructuring of a financial bail-out fund that they hope will resolve the bloc's debt crisis.
|Many analysts believe Portugal is in denial|
about its need for rescue aid.
During a summit in Brussels, eurozone ministers bowed to German demands to renegotiate the timeframe for contributions to the fund.
But the deal was overshadowed by concerns about Portugal, which rejected suggestions it needed a bail-out.
Many analysts believe Lisbon is in denial about its need for a rescue.
The eurozone debt deal follows months of negotiations.
"We decided a comprehensive package of economic measures... Today almost all the strands of this enterprise have come together," EU President Herman Van Rompuy said.
The new plan provides for the creation of a permanent fund, the European Stability Mechanism, to help troubled eurozone countries.
A major sticking point was the speed with which countries had to pay cash into the 700bn-euro (£615bn) fund.
The agreement requires 80bn euros of cash provided by eurozone countries in five equal annual instalments. There will be a further 620bn euros in guarantees.
There had been expectations that the two-day summit in Brussels would agree a resolution over rescuing Portugal's stricken economy.
But ministers in Lisbon said they had no intention of following Greece and Ireland in tapping the bail-out fund.
Privately, eurozone ministers believe it is only a matter of time before Lisbon asks for aid.