ESM head Regling: more time for Portugal, Ireland possible - report

BERLIN Fri Jan 25, 2013 9:14am EST

BERLIN Jan 25 (Reuters) - Extending the time Ireland and Portugal take to repay their loans and return to international bond markets is an option that can be discussed, the head of the euro zone's bailout fund was quoted as saying on Friday.

"One can talk about that," Klaus Regling told Spiegel Online, adding the two countries wanted an extension of the maturities of their debt rather than a pause in servicing their debt and interest payments. "It could help them return to the market earlier. ... And that is in all of our interests."

The European Commission is drawing up options for both countries to see how investor confidence can best be strengthened and improve conditions for Dublin and Lisbon, which have been shut out of markets for two years.

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