Pappas says debt relief needed but questions IMF policies

6 April 2016
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Greece’s foreign lenders must wrap up the review of the country’s bailout program without introducing fresh austerity measures that would stifle economic recovery, State Minister Nikos Pappas said Wednesday, adding that completing the evaluation would open the way towards an agreement on debt relief.

“What we must do now is make sure that the review will be concluded without [imposing] measures that would eliminate existing signs of economic recovery,” Pappas said an interview with News 247 website published on Wednesday.

“Once this is done, then, as it has been agreed with our partners, we can have a sincere discussion on the issue of debt so that a final settlement can be reached,” he said.

“Debt restructuring is a way to revive the economy, not an excuse to destroy it with the IMF’s recipe,” the leftist minister said, suggesting that the time was ripe for the European Stability Mechanism to take over from the Washington-based institution.

“I believe Europe has the institutional depth to solve its economic problems its own way,” said the minister adding that the Fund had repeatedly failed Greece by making innacurate forecasts.

Meanwhile, IMF Manager Director Christine Lagarde pledged to negotiate “in good faith” with Greece’s leftist-led government despite the recent controversy over a leaked conversation between top IMF officials.

“We continue to be focused on addressing the Greek situation,” Lagarde told Bloomberg Television late Tuesday.

Bailout monitors are in Athens this week, negotiating with the government over a series of measures required for the disbursement of the next tranche of emergency loans.

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