Europe can handle future crises without IMF - bailout fund chief

European Stability Mechanism Managing Director Klaus Regling attends the Asian Financial Forum in Hong Kong January 13, 2014. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

BERLIN (Reuters) - Europe will be able to handle future economic crises without the help of the International Monetary Fund, the head of the euro zone's bailout fund told German magazine Der Spiegel.

The IMF was involved in Greece's first two bailout programmes. It is not involved in the payment of a first tranche of Athens' third bailout, but may yet join the programme after a review in October.

Germany still wants the IMF involved in the latest bailout because of the economic rigour it brings more than for any financial help, government sources have said.

However, Klaus Regling, head of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), said that Europe could cope without the Washington-based Fund when its comes to facing future crises.

"Europeans will be able to tackle on their own the next crisis, which will come in the coming decades," Spiegel quoted Regling as saying, in an advance excerpt from its next edition.

"Cooperation between the ESM, EU Commission and ECB is well practiced. Together they fulfill the tasks of a European monetary fund," added Regling, with reference to the existing bailout fund, the EU executive, and the European Central Bank.

The role of the IMF in the latest euro zone bailout, Greece's third, is currently in question. The Fund says Greece's debt is not sustainable and that it does not want to participate unless there is some debt relief.

Last week, however, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble described IMF involvement in the programme as "indispensable".

(Writing by Paul Carrel; editing by Andrew Roche)