ATHENS, Nov 29 (Reuters) - Greece could maintain a primary surplus equivalent to 3.5 percent of its economic output for a few years after its latest bailout programme ends in 2018, European Central Bank executive board member Benoit Coeure told Greek TV on Tuesday.
The ECB believes that the 3.5 percent target for the budget surplus excluding debt-servicing costs is achievable within the bailout timeframe, Coeure said.
But Athens and its lenders must come up with the right mix of policies and debt relief to keep the primary surplus at such a high level, he added.
“We believe that it is possible ... to maintain it for a few years after 2018 and we have to find the right mix between maintaining the primary surplus at such a high level and providing the debt measures,” he told Skai TV in an interview.
“There is scope for discussion for how long should the primary surplus remain at 3.5 percent,” Coeure said. “There is still a gap to be bridged, but that’s not the main part of the discussion.”
Asked about tapering of the ECB’s asset-buying programme, Coeure said that such a discussion was premature. He said the ECB’s Governing Council would review its options in December.
“It is about the degree of monetary accommodation that is needed to sustain the acceleration of growth. It is not about tapering, it is about making sure that the financial environment in Europe remains supportive of our growth projection.” (Reporting by Renee Maltezou; Editing by Hugh Lawson)