EU Commissioner Pierre Moscovici reiterated in Athens on Wednesday that the IMF is an important partner in the Greek bailout program, in response to press questions after his meeting with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.
In the face of various comments, criticism and television appearances by the leftist Greek government's leadership over the recent period taking the Fund to task, Moscovici, who is viewed as more sympathetic to Athens, said an agreement that includes the IMF is necessary. He said the Fund's participation is a "safety valve" for the Greece as well.
Greek FinMin Euclid Tsakalotos, most recently, said it was unreasonable for the IMF to demand "precautionary measures" for targets after 2018.
Nevertheless, he expressed a view that an agreement to conclude the second review of the Greek program by Feb. is not far off. He also used the "light in the tunnel" line in predicting a coming end to austerity, while at the same time pointing to the need for reforms.