Saturday 29 April 2017

EU's bailout fund could be rival to IMF

Jeroen Dijsselbloem: 'I think it would make a lot of sense for the eurozone bailout fund ESM to be developed into a European IMF in the medium to long term' Photo: REUTERS/Ints Kalnins
Jeroen Dijsselbloem: 'I think it would make a lot of sense for the eurozone bailout fund ESM to be developed into a European IMF in the medium to long term' Photo: REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

Michelle Martin

The European Stability Mechanism (ESM) - the eurozone's bailout fund- should ultimately be turned into a European version of the International Monetary Fund, the head of eurozone finance ministers told a German newspaper.

"I think it would make a lot of sense for the eurozone bailout fund ESM to be developed into a European IMF in the medium to long term," Jeroen Dijsselbloem told the 'Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung'.

He said that would also mean that Greece's current "troika" of lenders - the European Commission, European Central Bank and the IMF - would need to be broken up in the longer term.

"The ECB feels increasingly uncomfortable in its troika role, and rightly so I think," Mr Dijsselbloem said, adding that the European Commission had other "important tasks" that it should concentrate on.

He said the ESM should "build up the technical expertise that only the IMF has at the moment".

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has also proposed turning the ESM into a European monetary fund to improve the management of crises in Europe.

Mr Dijsselbloem, who is now a caretaker finance minister in the Netherlands following last week's election there, said the institutions should maintain their roles for Greece's current bailout.

Germany, which holds elections in September, wants the IMF on board before new money is lent to Athens. But it disagrees with the IMF over debt relief and the fiscal targets that Greece should maintain after the bailout programme ends in 2018.

Mr Dijsselbloem said he did not expect the current review of Greece's bailout programme to be concluded quickly. (Reuters)

Irish Independent

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