IMF should stick to its core tasks: German central banker

BERLIN, April 26, 2010 (AFP) - Providing emergency loans to debt-wracked Greece is a "very wide interpretation" of the role of the International Monetary Fund, the head of Germany's central bank, Axel Weber, said Monday.

Stressing that "economic fine-tuning" should not be left to the IMF, Weber told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung it was "problematic" if the IMF went beyond its mandate.

"The IMF must focus very clearly on its core tasks, which are the financing of balance of payments and macro(-economic) prudential oversight ... we need to discuss how to refocus the IMF on these core tasks," Weber added.

Asked whether providing help for Greece was part of its core tasks, Weber replied: "It is at the very least a very wide interpretation of the IMF's rules."

The head of the IMF, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, said over the weekend he was keen to accelerate a joint aid package with the eurozone for Greece that could see Athens receive up to 45 billion euros (60 billion dollars).

But Berlin has been much less enthusiastic to rush to Greece's aid with an unpopular bailout weeks before a key regional election on May 9.

Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has warned against writing a "blank cheque" for Greece and Chancellor Angela Merkel said the onus was on Greece to set out a credible savings plan before it could expect European cash.

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