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Portugal finance minister says EU should discuss Greek debt relief, Bild reports

European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Pierre Moscovici attends a news conference with Portugal's Finance minister Mario Centeno (not pictured) in Lisbon, Portugal November 18, 2016. REUTERS/Rafael Marchante

BERLIN (Reuters) - The European Union should discuss debt relief for Greece and potentially move ahead even without the International Monetary Fund, Portuguese Finance Minister Mario Centeno said in an interview published Tuesday by the Bild newspaper.

“We have to start this discussion,” the German newspaper quoted Centeno as saying.

Euro zone finance ministers are due to discuss wide-ranging debt relief for Greece when they meet next month, but German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has opposed such measures, saying it would weaken efforts to enact further reforms.

Centeno said the EU could proceed with debt relief for Greece, even the IMF does not participate.

“The European currency union has very strong institutions in the meantime. We can deal with most problems on our own,” the newspaper quoted him as saying.

Centeno also said that Europe’s Stability and Growth Pact should be reworked and replaced. The current debt rules have “a lot of room for improvement,” he said.

Reporting by Andrea Shalal, editing by Larry King