IMF chief Christine Lagarde on Thursday defended the so-called troika group that oversees eurozone bailouts, after a top EU official said its time was up.
The "troika" of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund oversees bailouts and austerity programs for heavily indebted eurozone members such as Cyprus, Greece, Ireland or Portugal.
"The troika members have had a very solid and productive relationship over the last three years," Lagarde told AFP in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius.
"It's a very innovative way of working on extremely difficult cases," she said, noting that "every institution brings the best that it has in order to address crises and help resolve them."
But the IMF and the Commission have become increasingly split on key issues and top EU officials have said Europe can deal with these crises alone.
Lagarde spoke after EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding said Tuesday that the "time of the troika is over" and that "we Europeans must be capable of resolving our problems by ourselves."
But Lagarde firmly downplayed Reding's comment, noting the Justice commissioner was speaking on matters outside her portfolio.
"I wouldn't dare to venture in (Reding's) department which is the justice department," Lagarde said.
"And I am sure that she has very good ideas about the justice department."
EU Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso on Saturday also insisted that European institutions were capable of independently managing fresh bailouts.
The troika's future was called into question amid disagreements between the IMF and the EU on how to tackle the eurozone debt crisis.
An IMF report criticizing EU action on debt-ravaged Greece was rebuffed by EU Economic Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn, who is the Brussels point man in the troika.