BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The chair of the Eurogroup of euro zone finance ministers said on Tuesday that European lenders should be "realistic" in the fiscal targets they set for Greece after 2018, when a program of financial aid will end.


"We need to be realistic," Jeroen Dijsselbloem told the economic affairs committee of the European Parliament, saying that the International Monetary Fund has a point when it says "running a primary surplus of 3.5 percent for a very long time is a huge thing to ask".


Dijsselbloem's remarks come a few days before a Eurogroup meeting in Brussels on Dec. 5, when ministers are set to decide for how long Greece should maintain a primary budget surplus - which excludes debt servicing costs - of 3.5 percent after 2018, when its current program of financial aid expires.


(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio; Editing by Alastair Macdonald)