Portugal bailed out at last
For months economists and observers had forecast this day. Portugal was heading for a bail-out. It is the third eurozone country out of 17 to need a rescue.
Portugal suffers from low growth and an uncompetitive economy. It has also run up a dangerously high deficit.
The government in Lisbon had been sluggish in embracing labour market reforms and making cuts. The austerity programmes really only kicked in in January.
Meanwhile the harsh gaze of the bond markets fell upon Portugal and the traders were unconvinced. So the cost of borrowing shot up to a level that was all but unsustainable. The country would have struggled to raise the funds it needed - certainly by June.
As the government hurried to cut spending and raise taxes the mood of the country changed. There were demonstrations against austerity.
Then the week before last the Portuguese parliament took a step that sent shockwaves through the eurozone. It rejected a series of measures that had essentially been drawn up by the European Central Bank and the European Union. The government fell. The Germans, and others, demanded that Lisbon should remain committed to cutting its deficit and restoring competitiveness to its economy.
The EU's bail-out funds are certainly sufficient to help Portugal. A conservative estimate is that it will need 75bn euros (£66bn). A more difficult negotiation will be the terms of the deal.
So far the bail-outs of Greece and the Republic of Ireland have failed to draw a line under the crisis. They have protected both countries from the markets, but they have not addressed the longer term problem. How will these countries - facing a severe financial squeeze - find the growth and the funds to sort out their debts in the long term?
Portugal will be in the same position. The gap between it and countries like Germany is widening. Its economy is predicted to shrink this year by 1.4%.
Any bail-out that includes the International Monetary Fund will be extremely unpopular in Portugal. There are bitter memories of the past, when the IMF dished out some bitter medicine. The Portuguese people have indicated they are opposed to the current spending cuts. Will they accept further austerity? Where will growth come from?
All of this lies ahead. The ECB may well today raise interest rates, making conditions harsher for Greece, Ireland and Portugal.
Many believe that - despite these bail-outs - some kind of restructuring of debt is inevitable. The determination to prevent that at almost any cost is sowing real division within the eurozone. Watch how the electorate votes in Finland on 17 April. One key factor in the campaign is resistance to rescuing weaker eurozone members.
In Portugal once again it was the banks who cried out for help. They wanted a bridging loan and a rescue became inevitable. Increasingly the mood in Europe is to let banks and other senior bondholders take a hit, rather than the taxpayer.
The crisis in the eurozone is much more than about what rescue fund will be tapped, or whether there are mechanisms to prevent similar crises in future. The heart of the problem is that Europe has become, in part, a low-growth area. There are deep divisions within the eurozone. Countries that use a single currency are vastly different in economic performance.
The price of saving the euro is years of austerity for the weaker eurozone countries. It is those stresses that will be worth watching in the weeks ahead.
Will the pressure now move to Spain and beyond? Not necessarily. Spain has taken convincing steps to reduce its deficit and open up its economy. But its unemployment rate of over 20% is growing. Demand is weak. If Spain was to need a rescue it would shake the eurozone and raise questions about its long-term survival.