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Greek Crisis? Talk to someone else: Eurogroup’s Dijsselbloem

Jeroen Dijsselbloem, president of the Eurogroup.
Jasper Juinen | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Jeroen Dijsselbloem, president of the Eurogroup.

Greece is on the path to recovery and anyone who thinks otherwise can talk to someone else, the euro zone's leading finance minister has insisted.

Speaking to CNBC in Brussels ahead of Eurogroup's meeting of euro zone finance ministers on Greece, the group's president, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, said that everyone was committed to strengthening the recovery efforts of Greece, adding that it is in the joint interests of the "whole euro zone."

His comments come amid speculation that the embattled Greek economy could soon default on its debts and be forced out of the single currency union in what commentators have termed 'Grexit'.

The country has struggled with escalating debt in the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008 and has been heavily reliant on international bailouts from the European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank.

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"I think it's in our joint interests for the Greeks, the whole euro zone and the Netherlands that we have a stable recovery in Greece," said Dijsselbloem.

"That's what we're doing and anyone who wants to talk about crisis can talk to someone else because the Greek economy is gradually recovering and what we need to do is to strengthen that and give that more opportunity and that is what I'm trying to do."

Dijsselbloem said that Monday's meeting in the Belgium capital would focus on agreeing further reforms for the country, something that the International Monetary Fund has insisted on before further recovery fund can be released.

In 2015, Greece became the first developed country to fail to make an IMF loan repayment.

"The IMF has been clear right from the beginning that for (Greece) to become a part of the program again they would need serious reforms in the tax system, the pension system, the labour market, and the sustainable debt outlook.

"At the moment we need to concentrate on these deep reforms that the IMF, quite rightly, asks of the Greek government."

French economy minister Michel Sapin backed the Eurogroup president's views, adding that if any Greek crisis did return, it would not destabilise the rest of the euro zone.

"We are going to find an agreement on Greece in the coming days and put it in place in the coming days," Sapin told CNBC.

"There's what is happening in Greece, what is happening in Germany, what is happening in France. That's Europe. In Europe we have democracy, in each country there is a democratic heart beating, not always at the same time but that's why we built Europe and how we will overcome today's difficulties

Dijsselbloem, who is finance minister of the Netherlands, insisted that his decisions as president of Eurogroup would not impact the country's upcoming general election on March 15.

"There's always an election somewhere in Europe so we simply have to keep moving ahead.

"A lot of the electorate in the Netherlands supports my serious approach to this issue so I will continue to follow up on it in a very serious way."