Greek program is reliable, says EU spokeswoman in response to top IMF officials’ statement

Greek program is reliable, says EU spokeswoman in response to top IMF officials’ statement

The Greek bailout program was completely reliable, a spokesperson for the European Commission said Tuesday, in response to comments made by top IMF officials Maurice Obstfeld and Poul Thomsen on Monday.

Speaking on Tuesday, Commission spokeswoman Annika Breidthardt said the Commission had carefully read Monday's announcement, adding that the European institutions held the view that the policies sought for Greece within the ESM program were concrete and would allow the country to return to growth and the international markets.

The spokeswoman added that Greece had already implemented important reforms and remained within target to fulfill agreed fiscal targets. 

On Monday, the director of the International Monetary Fund’s European Department, Poul Thomsen, and its economic counselor and director of research, Maurice Obstfeld, denied that the IMF was demanding more austerity from Greece.

“The IMF is not demanding more austerity. On the contrary, when the Greek government agreed with its European partners in the context of the European Stability Mechanism program to push the Greek economy to a primary fiscal surplus of 3.5 percent by 2018, we warned that this would generate a degree of austerity that could prevent the nascent recovery from taking hold,” Obstfeld and Thomsen noted in the article they co-penned.

On Tuesday, Greek government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said that the IMF's positions raised questions. Although the Fund stated that it did not seek further austerity for Greece, it was willing to accept Europe's demand for 3.5 percent surpluses and demand new austerity measures, while estimating that the European predictions, upon which the program was based, were over-optimistic, he said.

The IMF’s estimates were “erroneous" while the data it had provided was "false," Tzanakopoulos added.

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