sábado, 28 de enero de 2012

Rehn Sees Need for More Greek Loans

DAVOS, Switzerland—European Union economics commissioner Olli Rehn said euro-zone governments may have to increase their contribution to Greece's debt deal and declared he was hopeful agreements could be struck soon to increase euro-zone bailout funds and International Monetary Fund resources.

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At the World Economic Forum

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He also made an appeal to the U.S. and other countries not to block an expansion in IMF resources—even if they didn't want to contribute directly themselves.

"It's in the interests of all concerned that we conclude a voluntary deal [for Greece] in the coming days, preferably in January rather than February," he said in an interview while attending the World Economic Forum in Davos.

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European Central Bank President Mario Draghi, left, talks with EU Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn at a European Union finance ministers meeting in Brussels on Monday.

He said once a deal was reached in Greece's debt-restructuring talks, a revised debt-sustainability analysis would follow—after which the contribution of other euro-zone member states might have to be adjusted. "I don't rule out a small adjustment of lending needs of the euro-area member states," he said.

Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday shrugged off suggestions that public creditors to Greece should increase their contribution, stressing that debt restructuring talks with Greece must first of all focus on a voluntary restructuring deal.

"We work on the basis that first of all a voluntary debt restructuring has to be negotiated in Greece. The criteria for this have clearly been set in October," Ms. Merkel told reporters. "Growth assumptions have changed in the meantime. That's why finance ministers have asked to conduct further negotiations. I think these are on the right track."


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Mr. Rehn said he was hopeful an agreement could be secured soon to lift the current €500 billion ($655.3 billion) cap on the resources of the euro-zone's bailout funds by allowing the resources of the current temporary fund, the European Financial Stability Facility, and the future permanent fund, the European Stability Mechanism, to be combined.

But he said it was important to avoid "a chicken-and-egg deadlock" in which contributors to an expansion in IMF resources held back awaiting a formal agreement on euro-zone bailout-fund expansion. That latter agreement will come in March at the earliest, while a meeting of finance ministers of the Group of 20 in late February in Mexico City is the most likely venue for a decision on the IMF.

"It's important that all the key members of the IMF contribute to an increase of IMF resources, including the United States because the U.S. has so many times underlined the importance of resolving the euro-area debt crisis. If a country can't make a concrete contribution, at least it's important not to block an overall agreement on IMF resources."

Mr. Rehn said in dealing with longer-term strains within the euro zone, "it's important that surplus countries and deficit countries do their part." For surplus countries, this would involve "further strengthening domestic demand essentially for structural reforms and possibly through investment in infrastructure that would have a positive impact on growth."

—Andrea Thomas contributed to this article.

Write to Stephen Fidler at stephen.fidler@wsj.com

International Monetary Fund, DAVOS, Switzerland—European Union economics commissioner Olli Rehn, World Economic Forum, debt restructuring, IMF resources, IMF resources, EU Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn, Central Bank President Mario Draghi, European Union, Angela Merkel, agreement, Dow Jones, finance ministers


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