Greece faces major challenge protecting the vulnerable, IMF says

Greece’s austerity measures must be carried out in a way that ?helps to protect the most vulnerable groups,? an International Monetary Fund spokesman said on Thursday.

An IMF mission will return to Athens next week, fund spokesman Gerry Rice said at a briefing with reporters in Washington. He said Greece faces ?a major challenge? implementing its reforms.

Europe?s economic slump is deepening as governments struggle to restore investor confidence and companies eliminate jobs. Economies are stalling or contracting amid concern about a possible Greek exit from the euro and the ability of Spain and Italy to service their debts.

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde spoke with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras by telephone on Wednesday to discuss the economy in Greece and the euro area, Rice said. [Bloomberg]

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