International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde, whose agency is one of Greece’s Troika of international lenders, told visiting Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in Washington that he must keep pushing reforms, such as austerity measures. They met for a little less than an hour and afterwards Samaras brushed passed waiting reporters with little comment.
Lagarde said in a statement the two had “a productive discussion … on recent economic developments and challenges facing Greece,” but didn’t say what they were.
“I commended him on the progress that Greece has made under its economic program towards fiscal sustainability, restoring competitiveness and financial stability, and stressed the importance of moving forward on institutional and structural reforms and implementing a robust 2014 budget to achieve the program’s objectives,” Lagarde said. “I assured him that the IMF remains committed to helping Greece in this endeavor.”
The IMF, however, has recommended that Greece be allowed to write off some of its debt from $325 billion in two bailouts, but only to the European Union (EU) and European Central Bank (ECB) and not her agency, which wants to be repaid in full.
Officials from the EU-IMF-ECB Troika on Sept. 29 who were in Athens checking the books put it on hold and left but are expected to return on Oct. 15 after the Eurogroup finance ministers’ meeting in Luxembourg.
The pause is to allow technical work to take place but added that “good progress” has been made in the negotiations, the Troika said in a statement, although earlier it had said there wasn’t.