Decisions on the use of Greece’s fiscal space are now taken by the Greek government and the country’s European partners since the International Monetary Fund (IMF) no longer has a Greek programme, IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said during the regular press briefing here on Thursday.
“It is clear that the main interaction is between Greece and its European partners, though the IMF continues to participate by offering assistance with surveillance. Along general lines, this is the arrangement and I think that we definitely agree that financial and other kinds of resources must be used for the benefit of society as a whole,” he said.
Rice also expressed his belief that Greece was now in a “strong position” and had a number of options following the decisions taken by its European lenders to ease Greek debt and create a cash buffer. It was now in a position to wait and see when to take specific actions, he said, adding that the issue of Greece buying back IMF loans was a decision the Greek government must make, in the context of managing its assets.
Asked about the official invitation extended to IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde by President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopios Pavlopoulos, Rice said that the IMF chief wishes to visit Greece but no specific date has yet been set.
On the issue of pension system reforms, the spokesman said it was important that Greece use all the tools at its disposal to move toward a policy that was social and friendlier to growth, without exclusions. In this context, Rice added, the IMF considers that implementing the pre-legislated package of measures will help free up fiscal space for non-pension-related social spending and reducing the real tax burden.