German Official Says IMF May Take More Removed Role in Troika

Greece’s negotiations with its international creditors may shift to allow a more removed role for the International Monetary Fund, a German official said today.

The IMF may not need to travel to Greece as much to keep tabs on how Greece is proceeding with its aid program, and Greece’s creditors could drop the troika moniker, the official said. This wouldn’t change the legal structure of the rescue program oversight, which would still fall to the IMF, the European Commission and the European Central Bank, while it might set the stage for smoother negotiations and respond to Greek demands for no longer having to deal with the troika.

For example, Greek authorities have been able to meet with euro-area authorities in Paris before, the official said, asking not to be named because talks between Greece and its creditors are ongoing.

Greece and its creditors are racing to figure out what will happen at the end of February, when the current rescue program is slated to end unless the euro-area agrees on next steps. The new government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras wants to pull together a deal over the next few months, which could be tricky if the current program ends abruptly.

Tsipras wants to find a way forward that doesn’t involve taking on more rescue debt. In contrast, Germany sees Greece as needing extra cash to pay its bills and make scheduled aid repayments, suggesting a new euro-area bailout program may be needed, the German official said. The IMF declined to comment on a more removed role.

One option for Greece might be renewing its reform and budget commitments, while making a formal request to extend the current program, the official said. So far Greece doesn’t want to ask for an extension on those terms.

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