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Trump's position 'a catalyst' for EU-IMF differences on Greece

Αssociated press

President Donald Trump. AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

BRUSSELS. The position adopted by U.S. President Donald Trump will be key in resolving EU-IMF differences over Greece, top European analyst Daniel Gros told the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA) on Wednesday.

According to Gros, who is the director of the influential Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) think tank based in Brussels, once Trump has made his position on Greece clear, this will act as a catalyst in the disagreements between the Eurozone and the IMF.

Similar opinions have been expressed by Eurozone officials, who said there can no certainty about whether the IMF wants to participate in the Greek programme since the new conditions that have arisen after Trump's election will also determine the Fund's role in Europe.

According to Gros, these differences of opinion will continue until the Trump administration clearly adopts a position. Noting that the man tapped to take over as U.S. Secretary for Commerce is the billionaire former banker Wilbur Ross, whose hedge fund has bought shares in Greece's Eurobank, Gros said that the Trump administration "might have an interest in keeping Greece alive."

He said this would strengthen a trend that already exists in the IMF to keep pressing Greece's partners - especially the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) and Germany - to demand less of Greece, "so that the IMF can look good."

According to a recent Bloomberg report, however, Ross has signed an ethics agreement promising to sell his stake in WL Ross Private Equity Funds, which owns the shares in Eurobank. In an interview last May, Ross had expressed the opinion that the IMF "will win the war" and Greece will get the debt relief that it needs.