Govt backs down on doubts concerning IMF’s participation in Greek finances

PM Alexis Tsipras had stated the belief that Europe should handle its own finances without IMF involvment, and EU officials responded with outrage

The Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) recoiled on views expressed by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras regarding the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) involvment in the third Greek bailout program. The dispute began on Monday night during a late-night interview that Tsipras gave to public broadcaster ERT TV. He had said that the IMF’s participation in Greek finances is something the government of Greece never asked for and stated his belief that Europe must face its problems alone. Furthermore, he said the IMF’s participation wouldn’t be necessary after the successful recapitalization of Greek banks. His comments drew the reaction of Brussels and German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble.

Asked if Greece was on a collission course with creditors, Government Spokeswoman Olga Gerovasili avoided adding more fuel to the fire and sufficed to state that “collision course” as too harsh a term to reflect the reality of the situation. In an effort to downplay the situation, government officials have stated that Tsipras’ statements for the distancing of the IMF from Greece’s rescue were not an ultimatum, but a proposal for Europe to face its own problems alone.

European Economic and monetary Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said on Wednesaday that the IMF’s participation in Greek finances is “necessary”.

German Government Spokesman Steffen Seibert also refered to the IMF’s participation in Greece in response to a question on whether Berlin considers the IMF’s role in Greece’s third package to be necessary. He said that it is not just a practise that has paid off but one that is also specified in the ESM’s legal texts as well as in the statement released by the Eurogroup in August.