World Economy

IMF Indecision on Greek Bailout Criticized

IMF Indecision on Greek Bailout CriticizedIMF Indecision on Greek Bailout Criticized

The time has come for the International Monetary Fund to make up its mind on Greece, according to the country’s economy minister.

The path to recovery runs sequentially through completion of Greece’s bailout review, debt relief and then admission to the European Central Bank’s quantitative easing program, said Dimitri Papadimitriou, an economist who joined the government this month after a career championing alternatives to the macroeconomics espoused by the IMF. Now, the Washington-based fund must decide whether the Greek recovery will happen with or without it, he said in an interview with Bloomberg.

“The IMF has changed its opinion many times,” said Papadimitriou, 70, who spent almost five decades in the US, where he is on leave from his post as president of Bard College’s Levy Economics Institute.

“It’s very hard to know whether in fact they want to be in or they want to be out. I think they do want in, and we want them to be in.”

Greek markets have rallied this month on expectations creditors may finally ease the country’s debt at a Dec 5 meeting of eurozone finance ministers.

For the International Monetary Fund to stay on board—a key demand of countries such as Germany and the Netherlands—such a deal must assuage the fund’s doubts about the viability of Greece’s medium-term fiscal targets. The country’s economy has contracted by about a quarter since the start of the global financial crisis in 2008.

Officials representing Greece’s European creditor institutions and the IMF left Athens on Tuesday without concluding the country’s bailout review. Greek government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos implied that the IMF was setting obstacles to completing the bailout review.


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