Merkel Ally Spahn Sees IMF Aiding Greece, Lauds Tsipras

German Deputy Finance Minister Jens Spahn said he’s confident the International Monetary Fund and other creditors will agree on debt relief for Greece, allowing the IMF to join the country’s bailout.

In a Bloomberg Television interview, Spahn said Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has the chance to be “a very strong leader for reforms” if he wins re-election this month, though an overhaul of the pension system is still needed and “won’t be easy.”

“We have a very strong commitment from the IMF that they want to stay in as well with financial support, but we still have to negotiate about the debt relief,” Spahn said Wednesday. “I’m very sure we will find a solution” on lowering Greece’s debt load, for example by extending loan maturities, he said.

The next Greek government has to stick to agreements signed by its predecessors and push ahead with overhauling the economy, said Spahn, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party.

“After three weeks of closed banks in Greece, everyone has understood that there have to be reforms if Greece wants to stay in the euro zone,” he said.

Polls suggest Tsipras will fall short an absolute majority in parliament after the Sept. 20 election, even as he clings to his lead after eight turbulent months in office that brought Greece to the verge of tumbling out of the euro area.

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