Lagarde insists on debt restructuring


International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Christine Lagarde has reiterated that Greece’s mountainous debt needs restructuring.

Speaking to French newspaper Le Parisien, Lagarde insisted that the IMF can only join the Greek program if Athens implements more reforms and the country’s debt is made manageable.

“We also need a sustainable debt,” she told the paper, adding that this could be done in different ways, including an extension of loan repayment periods and lower interest rates. She also said she was trying to convince European leaders to accept that Greece needs debt relief.

Meanwhile, representatives of Greece’s international creditors were expected to leave the capital on Friday without having reached an agreement with government officials on contentious issues including pension reform and overhauls to labor rights and the tax system. The IMF said some progress was made but differences “remain in important areas.”

Despite the insistence by European officials that a conclusion of the bailout review is unlikely before May, the Greek government indicated that there is enough time for an agreement significantly sooner than that though probably not in time for a March 20 Eurogroup.