Eurogroup should be 'realistic' on Greece fiscal targets: Dijsselbloem

November 29, 2016 4:45 AM EST

Dutch Finance Minister and Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem attends a euro zone finance ministers meeting in Brussels, Belgium, November 7, 2016. REUTERS/Yves Herman

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The chair of the Eurogroup of euro zone finance ministers said on Tuesday that European lenders should be "realistic" in the fiscal targets they set for Greece after 2018, when a program of financial aid will end.

"We need to be realistic," Jeroen Dijsselbloem told the economic affairs committee of the European Parliament, saying that the International Monetary Fund has a point when it says "running a primary surplus of 3.5 percent for a very long time is a huge thing to ask".

Dijsselbloem's remarks come a few days before a Eurogroup meeting in Brussels on Dec. 5, when ministers are set to decide for how long Greece should maintain a primary budget surplus - which excludes debt servicing costs - of 3.5 percent after 2018, when its current program of financial aid expires.

(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio; Editing by Alastair Macdonald)

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