The US is pushing Greece and its creditors to reach a deal that returns the country to growth, President Barack Obama’s chief economist said.
It’s in the interests of Greece, its creditors and “the entire world” for the sides to determine the structural economic reforms that will get the country growing and enable it to pay its debts, Jason Furman, chairman of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, said in a Bloomberg Television interview in Berlin on Tuesday. US officials aren’t convinced by European reassurances that the fallout from a Greek euro exit would be contained.
“I don’t think it’s an experiment we want to run,” Furman said. “If Greece and the institutions don’t find a path forward, it wouldn’t just be terrible for Greece, it would really be a risk that the global economy shouldn’t want to take.”
With negotiations over bailout aid deadlocked, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Monday ordered local governments to move their funds to the central bank. His government needs the cash for salaries, pensions and a payment to the International Monetary Fund and is running out of options to stay afloat.
European leaders want Greece to do more to revamp its economy, with progress to be reviewed on April 24 in Riga, Latvia, when finance ministers from the currency bloc meet. European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis said in an interview in Washington that creditors might need to wait until mid-May to see what Greece can deliver.
The US is encouraging Greece and the officials representing the European Commission, the European Central Bank and IMF to “roll up their sleeves” and do the technical work needed, Furman said.
“The president is personally paying attention,” he said. “It’s something he discussed with Prime Minister Renzi, for example, when he was in Washington last week. He’s discussed it with other leaders.”