Higher involvement by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the euro zone's efforts to stem its debt crisis would be an act of desperation, outgoing European Central Bank chief economist Juergen Stark said, calling for a quantum leap by the currency bloc.

It would be an act of desperation, he was quoted as saying by Sueddeutsche Zeitung due for publication on Monday.

Stark said he envisaged an informal panel of experts to check on member states' budgets. That would be the nucleus for a future European finance ministry, he said.

(Reporting by Annika Breidthardt)