Lagarde says it is too early to discuss Greek bailout changes

IMF managing director Christine Lagarde says it is too early to discuss changes to Greece?s bailout terms and has called for the Greek government to show its determination to implement reforms.

Greece is angling for a two-year extension to its fiscal adjustment period but speaking to CNBC, Lagarde said it is «way premature to discuss extension, to discuss additional financing.”

She said she will wait for the troika team to complete its latest inspection before discussing any possible changes.

“First of all it’s a new mindset, a proper fact-finding exercise, and then a discussion with the authorities to see how with their new policies, their new strategy, the situation can be accommodated,» she said.

Troika officials are due back in Athens on July 24 and Lagarde said she has been encouraged by the new government?s stance, accusing previous administrations of only paying lip service to reforms.

“I’m quite pleased to see that the Greek authorities are aware of the fact that they have to demonstrate their determination to own, adopt and implement the program,? she said. ?Because I think that’s a quid pro quo that was not necessarily in place previously. That change of attitude I think was warranted, is welcome, and will help have a better dialogue with the authorities.”

Lagarde, who has courted controversy in Greece with previous statements, said that the sacrifices made by Greeks over the last two years have often been ?under-estimated?.

“I think we need to recognise that the Greek population has suffered a lot, and have made sacrifices of significant nature and amount.”

The IMF chief denied that the Washington-based fund was being more lenient on Greece than it had been on Asian countries in the 1990s.

?The Fund taking things easy and casually with Greece is certainly not what the Greek people think, I’ve been on the receiving end of that,? she said. ?We have to be even-handed, this is the mission of the Fund. We’re not here to cater for a particular region with special care, and others, not.”

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