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08/17/1998 10:37:20 EU says backs Russian reforms

BRUSSELS, Aug 17 (Reuters) - The European Commission said on Monday it was closely following developments in Russia and believed the reform process there was crucial for the stability of the economy. "We follow the whole situation very closely," spokesman Costas Verros told reporters, responding to moves by Russia's central bank on Monday. "We fully support the reform process in Russia, which is crucial for the stability of the economy." He said the European Union's executive body also supported the International Monetary Fund package for Russia. The Russian central bank announced changes in currency policy to allow the rouble to float and declared a 90-day moratorium on foreign debt repayments. Analysts said the moves were in effect a devaluation. ((Brussels Newsroom +32 2 287 6830, fax +32 2 230 5573, brussels.newsroom@reuters.com))

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