IMF chief Christine Lagarde said Monday that there is room for easier fiscal policies in Europe's strained economies, but she pressed home again that Greeks must pay their taxes to strengthen their economy.
The International Monetary Fund managing director, who has repeatedly called tax evasion one of Greece's biggest problems, raised the issue again in an interview with CNN television one week before the country holds national elections.
"I think that tax compliance is a necessary tool to restore any country's situation -- Greece, like others," she said, according to excerpts released ahead of the broadcast.
But with Greece and other debt-strained eurozone countries struggling without success to restore growth while implementing severe austerity, she suggested that some of the conditions of their bailout programs should be eased.
"You need to reduce the fiscal deficit gradually, steadily," Lagarde said.
"It doesn't have to be this belt-tightening that everybody is talking about, but it has to be solid."
Asked her what she thought of comments last week by international financier George Soros that the eurozone had just three months to fix its problems, Lagarde was less specific but nevertheless signaled a need for action.
"George is very good at setting deadlines and attracting attention, which is good, because there has to be attention paid to the current situation.
"But I think... various things need to happen shortly... more shortly than three months.
"It is not to say there is a deadline and the whole situation is going to unravel."