Juncker sees no need for extra measures to conclude Greek bailout review

Juncker sees no need for extra measures to conclude Greek bailout review

Greece should not need extra measures to wrap up an ongoing bailout review with lenders, European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker has said admitting however that the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) may have to bridge their diverging assessments about the state of the Greek economy.

“We, as the Commission, are of the opinion that our figures are right and there is no need for contingency measures,” Juncker said in an interview with financial website made public Wednesday.

“My impression is that the IMF does not believe in our figures,” he added.

The Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) is expected to announce on Thursday that the 2015 primary surplus was between 1.1 and 1.2 billion euros, or 0.6 to 0.7 percent of GDP. According to sources, the European Commission’s statistical arm, Eurostat, has already rubber-stamped the data.

IMF calculations, on the other hand, are based on the Fund's forecast that Greece produced a 0.5 percent of GDP deficit last year.

“We have to wait for the figures to be published by Eurostat on Thursday,” Juncker said.

Asked about the implications of the differences between the EU and the IMF, Juncker said the two would have to “bridge the gap.”

“If others are of the opinion that contingency measures are a way out of a situation and if these measures are proposed then we are ready to assess them,” he said, adding that this would have to occur “in close cooperation with the Greek government.”

In the same interview, the head of the Commission also criticized fresh speculation of a Greek exit from the eurozone.

“I don’t think for one second that it would be wise and intelligent to restart this debate. Grexit did not happen and will not happen,” Juncker said.

“Those who are restarting this debate are playing with fire. We have enough crisis, we do not need another one,” he said.

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