IMF head says 'very happy' with EU troika cooperation

WASHINGTON Fri Jun 14, 2013 1:26pm EDT

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The head of the International Monetary Fund said she was satisfied with the cooperation between the IMF and European lenders, amid criticism about the flaws in the relationship.

The IMF began a partnership with the European Commission and the European Central Bank - collectively known as the "troika" - several years ago to help stem the debt crisis in Europe and prevent it from spreading to the rest of the world.

"The troika relationship has been of a very unusual and exceptional nature, just as the crisis has been," IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said on Friday.

"But it has been of constant cooperation, solid cooperation. I am very happy with the cooperation," she said, adding that she is in weekly contact with the European Commission.

The trio of lenders came together to rescue Greece, Portugal, Ireland and Cyprus, but have also had to contend with divergent rules and modes of operation.

Earlier this month, the IMF said some aspects of the first aid package to Athens might have been handled better, including a restructuring of Greek privately held debt. It added that delays had pushed an extra burden onto euro zone taxpayers and that it had been overly constrained by working within the European monetary union.

The admission triggered a war of words with the European Commission. The head of the euro zone's bailout funds, Klaus Regling, said the IMF had made a mockery of Europe's budget rules and should not play a role in euro zone rescue packages in the long-term.

(Reporting by Anna Yukhananov. Editing by Andre Grenon)

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