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IMF: Different Eurozone Growth Rates Pose Risk

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ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- The head of the International Monetary Fund says there is a risk of "big difficulties" because of different rates of growth among the 16 European Union countries that use the euro.

Responding to a question Tuesday in the Greek parliament about the risks of a two-tier Europe, Dominique Strauss-Kahn said that while there were problems, he didn't believe the euro would break up.

"There is a risk of big difficulties," Strauss-Kan said. "I don't think there is a risk of Germany, as I read sometimes in the newspapers, of leaving the euro or things like that."

However, he said, "the reality is that there are different rates of growth, it goes differently in the different parts of the eurozone, and that's not good."

Weak growth rates in some of Europe's most indebted countries -- Portugal, Greece and Ireland -- will make it harder for them to repay their debts. Meanwhile, countries that are doing better -- Germany, Austria and the Netherlands -- are resisting adding more bailout money to help them, saying they shouldn't have to keep paying for countries that overspent.

Strauss-Kahn said there was a need "to have something more dynamic, which is something where the center of the eurozone will be stronger because you can't have a single currency and not have at the same time a coordinated economic policy. And that's the big weakness."

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