Gov’t lashes out at IMF’s Thomsen over unemployment comment


Government officials on Thursday responded in a sarcastic tone to comments made at a book presentation by the International Monetary Fund’s Poul Thomsen suggesting that it would take Greece 21 years to return unemployment to pre-crisis levels.

“Thomsen can keep making his ‘successful’ projections,” an unnamed government official said on Thursday of Thomsen, who is the director of the IMF’s European Department and oversees the Fund’s program in Greece.

“Maybe he should write a blog about it,” the official said, referring to older comments made by Thomsen countering criticism that the IMF is demanding more austerity from Greece.

The reaction from Athens came in response to a statement by Thomsen at a presentation of “Europe’s Growth Challenge” by Andres Aslund, where he said that Greece will need 21 years to return unemployment figures to the levels of 2001-2007. He also said it would take Italy 12 years to reach that target, Portugal 10 and Spain six because of high structural unemployment, low inflation and excessive debt.