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EU's Juncker: 'troika' inspections to change after court ruling

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker addresses a news conference following a European Union leaders summit in Brussels December 18, 2014. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

PARIS (Reuters) - The "troika" formula of European Commission, ECB and IMF inspectors that have presided over the bailouts of countries including Greece will likely change after recommendations by a top EU court adviser, the European Commission chief said.

The European Central Bank won effective backing on Wednesday for its pledge to do whatever it takes to support the euro, when a top EU legal adviser removed a hurdle to the bank's plans to buy government bonds to bolster the euro zone economy.

But the opinion on the "OMT" bond-buying blueprint, put forward by the advocate general to the European Court of Justice, said that if such a bond-buying plan was launched, the ECB should stop being directly involved in the monitoring of financial assistance programmes such as the bailouts.

"It is an indication that the troika as we know it today should not have a bright future," Jean-Claude Juncker told a conference in Paris on Friday.

"The European Court of Justice's advocate general... seemed to want to ban the ECB from remaining a member of the troika."

The court adviser said nothing would prevent the ECB from being kept informed of financial assistance programmes, but that it should not be directly involved in the monitoring.

The EU/ECB/IMF troika of inspectors, which have also been instrumental in the Irish and Portuguese bailouts, has been particularly unpopular in Greece, where it has pushed for spending cuts and austerity reforms.

When asked about the Jan. 25 general election in Greece, Juncker said he would not interfere with domestic politics, but added that any past commitment made by previous governments must be kept.


(Reporting by Ingrid Melander; Editing by Crispian Balmer)