FRANKFURT (MNI) – While Greece has not done enough in implementing
structural reforms, “there can be a real growth spurt” if the country
does more, European Stability Mechanism Managing Director Klaus Regling
said in an interview pre-released Wednesday.

“I am not among those who believe a new haircut [for Greek] debt is
urgently needed,” Regling said in an interview with German weekly Die

On Spain, Regling said that it was up to the Spanish government to
decide on whether to apply for financial assistance, as well as market
developments. “Capital market rates for Spain have fallen,” Regling
said. “Therefore, the country is not currently dependent on receiving

There are a number of signs that point to progress in overcoming
the European financial crisis, Regling noted.

“It is simply wrong that there is no progress,” Regling said. “Look
at Ireland, Spain or Portugal: competitiveness is rising, the budget
deficit is declining. Even Greece has a small current account surplus
for the first time since May 2010.”

Regling said that “at least half the distance has been covered”
regarding the necessary fiscal reforms and improvements in
competitiveness. “If the reforms continue, this part of the adjustment
should be completed in two years,” the paper quoted Regling as saying.

The ESM head also said that investors in Asia were less pessimistic
about the Eurozone than six months ago. “There is a gradual realization
that much has happened at the national level, while new tools are
available at the European level.”

Regling defended the European Central Bank, dismissing accusations
out of Germany that the ECB was putting its independence at risk and
stressing his conviction that the central bank will maintain price

— Frankfurt bureau: +49 69 720 142; email: —

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