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BERLIN (Reuters) - Greece will probably be able to borrow money on the markets from the middle of next year and if the next 18 months are put to good use Athens probably won't need another bailout, the head of the euro zone bailout fund told a German newspaper.
Greece and its international lenders agreed on Monday to let teams of experts work out new reforms to Greek pensions, income tax and labor market that would allow Athens to eventually qualify for more cheap loans.
Klaus Regling, head of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), told Sueddeutsche Zeitung he expected that from mid-2018 Greece would "stand on its own feet and be able to get money on the markets by itself".
In comments due to be published on Wednesday, Regling said: "If the next 18 months are used well, I'm optimistic that this is the last program that Greece will need to do."
He said he could imagine the ESM rescuing troubled euro zone states on its own in the future.
But he added that in the case of Greece, different agreements had been made and without the involvement of the International Monetary Fund, no further payments could be made.
"If the IMF doesn't participate, it won't be in line with what governments have agreed with their parliaments."
Reporting by Michelle Martin; Editing by Ralph Boulton