* Bailout seen around 80 bln euros
* EU, IMF officials currently in Lisbon
(Recasts with European Commission spokesman)
LISBON, April 27 The European Commission poured
cold water on Wednesday on a media report that EU and IMF terms
for a bailout of Portugal would be ready and submitted to the
caretaker government by the end of the week.
Portugal's Expresso weekly, which did not cite any sources,
reported on its website that a mission of officials from the
European Union and International Monetary Fund visiting Lisbon
had "practically finished" work on the package and wanted the
government and opposition parties to approve the terms by May 4.
"This is simply not true. Discussions are still going on and
nothing is concluded until everything is wrapped up," said
European Commission spokesman Amadeu Altafaj. He did not provide
any estimates on when a deal may be ready.
An IMF spokeswoman said she would not comment on
speculation. Portuguese government officials had no immediate
Portugal this month became the third euro zone country to
seek foreign aid, following Greece and Ireland, after the
minority government collapsed in March, sending the heavily
indebted country's borrowing costs soaring.
Officials from the European Commission, the European Central
Bank and IMF arrived in Lisbon earlier this month to go over
Portugal's accounts and establish terms for a loan that is
expected to reach 80 billion euros.
The terms could include austerity measures like those seen
in Greece and Ireland, where taxes have been raised and public
sector salaries cut. Reforms of Portugal's labour market may
also be included to boost competitiveness.
Prime Minister Jose Socrates resigned last month after the
opposition rejected austerity measures proposed by his minority
Socialist government. His caretaker government will remain in
power until an early election called for June 5.
Socrates is leading the talks with the bailout team and also
coordinating efforts to obtain approval for the aid package from
other parties, particularly the main opposition Social
Finance Minister Fernando Teixeira dos Santos has said he
hopes the European Union will approve the loan by mid-May.