The announcement was made by the EFSF on Twitter: “The European Financial Stabilisation Fund has received an advance payment of 2 billion euros from Portugal”, the tweet said.

“The early repayment of the loan confirms the strong access to the country’s market and the comfortable liquidity position”, the fund continues.

Finance minister Mário Centeno considered early repayment to be “good news”, stressing that he was also satisfied with it as president of the Eurogroup.

At the start of a meeting of the eurozone finance ministers in Luxembourg, Centeno said that Portugal’s early repayment of part of the loans contracted from the EFSF during the external aid programme “is another step towards normalising its financial situation, which is reflected in a very positive assessment that the institutions have made over the last few years of the same development”.

According to the government, the advance payment will lead to accumulated interest savings of some €120 million, as the loans in question were not to mature until 2025/2026.

“Early repayment has the virtue, in addition to saving interest, of reducing what we have to pay in 2025 and 2026, which are years in which payments were particularly concentrated,” the secretary of state explained.

As the loans to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have already been disbursed, the EFSF and the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) have yet to be paid back.

The EFSF Board of Directors approved on 5 September Portugal’s request to repay in advance €2 billion of the loans granted under this fund during the financial assistance programme (2011-2014).

Under the financial assistance programme (2011-2014), Portugal benefited from external assistance of €78 billion, provided in equal parts (one third each, or €26 billion) by the EFSF, the European Union (European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism) and the IMF.