“We made Mistakes” IMF’s Thomsen Briefs Foreign Media about Greece

Posted by in Economy

Representative of International Monetary Fund Poul Thomsen, one of the so-called Troikans, admitted that there were mistakes in the bailout agreement between Greece and its lenders. According to Sunday newspaper TO VIMA, shortly before the Eurogroup meeting on October 8th and the visit of German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Athens a day earlier, Poul Thomsen had briefed representatives of foreign media in Greece. The briefing took place in Hilton Hotel, where Thomsen and the other Troika representatives reside, when in Athens.

The main points of Thomsen’s briefing:
 
-  “We have reduced wages, but we did not open the closed professions.”
 
- “The way we approached competitiveness in Greece was wrong.”
- ” We covered half the way, cutting wages and we needed to make changes in the labour market, to open the markets and the closed professions.”
- “The main problem is that we are in the fifth year of recession and still have positive inflation. And this creates an uneven distribution of the weight.” 
According to TO VIMA,  the first words spoken by the Danish official were that we must dissolve the impression that they are pushing for tougher measures and we do not trust the government to implement them. However, he added that the troika has no good experience from the ability of the Greek authorities to control spending in the municipalities and the health sector.
Poul Thomsen spoke also about a two-year extension of the program but he refrained from tlaking about the sustainability of Greek debt. 
 
 “The extension creates a funding gap for 4 years, but if there is no funding, then we should come back with more measures.”

As regards to the prime minister, Thomsen said that he [Antonis Samaras] succeeded in diplomatically rpomoting the Greek issue, but that nobody wants another program that moves off track.

TO VIMA submitted a request to the IMF about the briefing of Thomsen to foreign journalists. The reply the newspaper received by the IMF spokesman was that

 
“There was not official briefing, no notes were distributed to reporters.”
 
TO VIMA asked also about the purpose of the briefing, but got no answer. (TO VIMA via newsit.gr)
 
I thought the Troika was not supposed to speak to journalists… But apparently the briefing was off the record… lol
 
PS We accept ‘objections’ by those not invited in the briefing and ‘confirmations’ plus ‘additional info’ by those present. :)