EU: No impact of Strauss-Kahn scandal on bailout decisions

EU: No impact of Strauss-Kahn scandal on bailout decisions

The arrest on rape charges of International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn will have no impact on eurozone bailout decisions, the European Union's executive said Monday.

Strauss-Kahn was expected to take part in EU and eurozone finance ministers' discussions on Monday, where further aid for bailed-out Greece and approval of a new rescue package for Portugal were on the agenda, DPA reported.

After his arrest in New York on Saturday, IMF officials said he would be replaced by one of his deputies, Nemat Shafik.

Amadeu Altafaj, a spokesman for EU Economy Commissioner Olli Rehn, said the scandal "should not have any impact whatsoever for the ongoing programmes for Greece, Ireland and for the decisions to be taken in the next hours for Portugal."

He said the commission was "absolutely confident there will be total continuity" in the contribution of the IMF, which is financing one-third of the eurozone's bailouts.

Altafaj described as "alarmist" press reports speculating that Strauss-Kahn's arrest would disrupt EU debt crisis deliberations, and said any change in IMF-supported bailouts was "out of the question."

European ministers were expected to debate further help for Greece, which despite receiving a 110-billion-euro (155-billion-dollar) EU-IMF bailout last year, is seen by several economists as on the brink of a default.

With speculation rife that loan repayments for Greece could be extended, Amadeu said "debt restructuring is not in the cards." He also ruled out any notion of a "soft debt restructuring."

Eurozone and EU finance ministers were also set to talk Monday about the European Stability Mechanism, a 500-billion-euro permanent euro rescue fund due to be introduced in 2013, and draft legislation on tighter budget discipline and economic regulation.

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