Government officials say IMF spring meetings crucial

Government officials say IMF spring meetings crucial

The spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund on April 20-23 in Washington will, the government believes, be pivotal to the formulation of the key Greek demand for medium-term debt relief measures.

“Consultations will take place [in Washington] on medium-term measures for the Greek debt between all the parties involved,” government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said on Tuesday.

The government has been eager to attach a compromise deal – to complete the second review of Greece’s third bailout – to debt relief, which the IMF has set – along with the demand for further fiscal measures – as a precondition to join the Greek program.

Echoing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Minister of State Nikos Pappas said on Tuesday that the government will not implement the measures it has agreed to for 2019 and 2020 unless there are debt relief measures.

“The measures for 2019 and 2020 were put on the table because some countries insisted that the IMF should remain part of the Greek program,” he said. If, Pappas added, the IMF’s demand for debt relief is not met and it leaves the program, then there is no reason to implement the additional measures.

Faced with increasing dissent from within its own ranks and lagging in the polls, the leftist-led coalition has made debt relief a central pillar of its economic recovery narrative, as it hopes it could sweeten the pill of further spending cuts.

According to this narrative, debt relief will pave the way for Greece’s inclusion in the European Central Bank’s quantitative easing program.

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