IMF ready to return: demands new memorandum for Greece

Uses debt as incentive

The end of November is an informal benchmark for determining the role of the IMF in the new Greek bailout program.  It remains to be determined whether the IMF will assume a strictly advisory role in which it monitors and suggests policies, but doesn’t finance the memorandum.

The main obstacle to IMF re-entering as a lender is that it has already made it clear it will not participate as long as the Greek debt is unsustainable and requires further measures on the part of the Europeans to reduce it.  However, it has demanded that the Europeans take measures to ease Greece’s debt burden so that it can justify the new bailout.

But while the Germans have expressed their belief that the IMF will enter into the program, they insist that no new measures to ease Greece’s debt burden will be necessary until 2025, and are only willing to discuss the implementation of mild economic measures in the short term.

The new fact that has been brought to the fore by IMF representative Gerry Rice reveals that behind-the-scenes negotiations are taking place between the IMF and the European lenders so that it can enter into the program without Troika having to alter its stance.

Mr. Rice revealed that the IMF will enter the program even if there is a commitment on the part of the Europeans to ease Greece’s debt, providing that both the current and future Greek governments adhere to specified reforms.

Gerry Rice’s comment is interpreted as the IMF’s intention to enter the program as long as there is a fourth Memorandum and specific measures are taken.

Both finance minister Euclid Tsakalotos and government spokesman Dimitris Tsanakopoulos dismissed but did not outwardly deny the possibility of such a scenario in their statements to the newspaper Efimerida ton Syntakton.

“The IMF and the Greek government want to chart a clear course for how Greece will move forward and how it will exit the program in 2018.  One element of the course is what debt relief the Europeans will offer both now and in the future,” said Mr. Tsakalotos.