BUSINESS

Eurogroup chief says Greek bailout not heading for crisis, insists on IMF role

TAGS: Economy, Diplomacy

The chairman of the group of eurozone finance ministers Jeroen Dijsselbloem has told CNBC that the Greek bailout program is not heading for a crisis.

In an interview, Dijssebloem said that a deal on a reform package, which will unlock more loans to Greece, was near.

"We're getting very close... so I'm not for all this crisis talk," he told CNBC. "If we concentrate on where we are and try and push it through we'll get it done far before the summer," he said, adding that he hoped there was no danger of Greece facing a credit event before more bailout money can be released.

He added that once Greece hit targets linked to pension reform, an income tax overhaul and privatization, "then we will come to debt and see what needs to be done now or later."

Dijsselbloem told CNBC that Europe was prepared to discuss debt relief with Greece but said it was "crucial" that the IMF was involved in the bailout program.

"I think the Greeks fully understand that the involvement of the IMF is very important for the European partners. The IMF is actually helping Greece where the issue of debt is concerned because the IMF is saying that the debt is unsustainable and the Europeans need to do more. Whether we do need to do more, how much and when, is yet to be debated but the IMF basically supporting Greece there."

"So I really need the IMF on board to get the firm kind of balance that we need," he said.

"We've promised Greece that if necessary, we will do more to relieve their debt burden and that promise still stands, and in the coming weeks we will need to debate what more is needed. What I cannot accept is that the IMF leaves, I need their involvement."

 

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