Portugal expects no debt relief before German elections

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LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Portugal's prime minister says he doesn't expect eurozone authorities to make any substantial progress on resolving the bloc's debt problems before Germany's national elections in a year's time.

Antonio Costa says the contentious issue of possible debt relief for heavily-indebted eurozone countries such as Portugal won't be up for discussion before Germans vote.

But he said in an interview with Portuguese public broadcaster RTP late Monday that Europe cannot continue to ignore a problem that afflicts eurozone countries and can be solved only through a joint approach.

Costa's center-left Socialist government wants new EU rules on debt reduction, focusing on growth instead of austerity.

Portugal needed a 78 billion-euro ($84 billion) bailout in 2011. Its government debt stands at 133 percent of GDP, one of the EU's highest.

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