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Tsipras asked for the IMF’s participation, sees deal in April

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras confirmed on Friday that he had asked managing director Christine Lagarde for the participation of the International Monetary Fund in the Greek program. Greece’s request was reveled by Lagarde a day earlier. The previous approach of the Greek government “We can do also without the IMF” is with this statement over. Apparently, the European creditors under the leadership of German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble were for one more time more than convincing.

“It is true that I asked that the IMF to clarify its intention,” and also that “the IMF participation will not be a la carte,” Tsipras said at a press conference after the Eu leaders Summit in Brussels. For the Greek Prime minister “participation a la carte” would mean that the IMF asks more austerity measures but does nothing on the debt issue.

He said that he is occasionally in contact with Lagarde and described their communication “not always easy, however sincere and honest.”

Alexis Tsipras expressed his confidence that an agreement could be reached in April noting the delay in this direction. “We all know why there is a delay,” he said and implicitly showed in the direction of the European Commission and the Eurogroup.

“The IMF has expertise to countries outside the European framework,” Tsipras said noting that it is the EU acquis that apply to Greece and that therefore it is the duty of the European institutions to implement them.

On Thursday, Greece and its international creditors completed one more round of bailout talks without a breakthrough. The two sides could not reach an agreement on pensions, taxation and labor issues. Hopes to conclude the second review of the Greek program at the Eurogroup meeting on March 20th fade away. However, both Greek and EU officials said that negotiations will continue via teleconferences and other means like communication via e-mail.

Spokesman of the International Monetary Fund, Gerry Rice said that “important progress has been made during these discussions on a balanced fiscal package and a number of key reforms, notably in the financial sector.” He added “Discussions will continue next week, notably on pension and labor market reforms.”

Last month, the Greek government committed itself to additional austerity measures in the form of pension cuts and broadening the tax base after Greece’s third bailout program ends in 2018. Labor reforms and the privatization of state assets are also on the table.

The government also agreed on a package of growth measures, mostly consisting of tax cuts, that would be implemented if primary budget surplus targets are met.

However, the Greek government is pushing for so-called “counter measures” for the case that it meets the primary surplus targets.

Merkel, Tsipras and the other kids on the bloc in Brussels

Meanwhile the leader of Greece’s main opposition party New Democracy sent a clear message to PM Tsipras via the Bloomberg TV.

“Don’t count on us to bail out your government,” ND leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in an interview and reiterated that “Greece needs new elections.” The New Democracy party will vote against the “excessive” fiscal measures demanded by creditors for 2019 and 2020, Mitsotakis stressed to an international audience – because the Greek audience is rather tired to hear Mitsotakis for more than 400 days demanding new elections, ever since he won the party leadership in January 2016.

Recently a ND high ranking official Vaggelis Meimarakis urged his party to adopt a common stance with the government on the fiscal measures/creditors issues.

But Mitsotakis is determined to rule the Greeks with either with this program review or another.

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One comment

  1. The miserable little joke of a PM would do anything to keep the office and his perks. Absolutely anything for absolutely anybody. And so would our other dears Kyriakos, Fofi, etc. Same taste, same s**t. Are we ever going to learn anything before the 4th Reich manages to kill us all?