Greek reform quality a concern, Cyprus has done well: Eurogroup's Dijsselbloem

Dutch Finance Minister and Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem addresses the European Parliament during a debate on the future of the Economic and Monetary Union in Strasbourg, France, December 15, 2015. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - International lenders are concerned with the quality of reforms in Greece, in exchange for which Athens is getting loans, the chairman of euro zone finance ministers Jeroen Dijsselbloem told the European Parliament’s economic committee on Thursday.

Dijsselbloem said that while politically difficult for the Greeks, the government still needed to implement a reform of the pension system and tackle a number of fiscal issues as agreed under a first batch of reforms.

He also stressed the need for Greece to set up a privatization fund before any new money can be disbursed on the completion of the first reform package.

“The quality of the reforms to be implemented is our main concern, the authorities should now shift into high gear so that negotiations can be finalised as soon as possible,” he said.

“I very much realize that some of the reforms necessary are politically difficult for the society, but it is of prime importance to implement what has been agreed in summer of 2015,” he said.

He also praised the reform performance of another bailout recipient Cyprus, which will end its loans-for-reforms program at the end of March and said Nicosia had not asked for any follow-up financing arrangement.

“I am confident the country will be able to stand on its own feet again,” Dijsselbloem said.

Reporting By Jan Strupczewski