May 23, 2013 / 7:26 AM / 7 years ago

EU may give Greece more time to meet fiscal targets: Dijsselbloem

Eurogroup chairman Jeroen Dijsselbloem waits to address the European Parliament's Economic and Monetary Affairs committee to discuss the way in which assistance to member states has been conducted, particularly Cyprus, in Brussels May 7, 2013. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

ATHENS (Reuters) - The euro zone may give Greece more time to meet fiscal targets agreed under its international bailout, the chairman of the euro zone finance ministers said in an interview published on Thursday.

“The Commission’s approach regarding fiscal consolidation is more flexible, giving certain countries more time to meet their targets. I believe that this will be the case for Greece if needed,” Jeroen Dijsselbloem told Kathimerini newspaper.

Greece’s European partners agreed last year to extend the maturities and reduce the interest on the nation’s bailout funds to help cut its debt mountain to a more sustainable level of 124 percent of GDP in 2020, from an estimated 173 percent this year.

They promised more debt relief might follow if Greece hits its fiscal targets and posts a balanced budget in 2013.

Dijsselbloem said Greece’s fiscal progress had been satisfactory so far, adding euro zone finance ministers would assess whether Greece deserves further debt relief in 2014.

“We will meet at some point in 2014 to see what more Greece will need on the condition it has met the set targets,” he said in the interview. “We have not made any decisions on what form this debt relief will take and whether it will include erasing part of the bilateral loans.”

Reporting by Renee Maltezou; Editing by Toby Chopra

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