Thomsen reiterates IMF’s position in favor of pre-legislated reforms in Greece

9 November 2018
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IMF European director Poul Thomsen on Thursday reiterated that the Fund continues to believe that pre-legislated reforms in Greece are necessary, and that greater “fiscal space” in annual Greek state budgets should be funneled towards growth-generating measures.

Thomsen, possibly the most prominent of the International Monetary Fund’s “old hands” in successive Greek bailout programs since 2010, was referring directly to a scheduled social security spending reduction that the Tsipras government has legislated for implementation as of Jan. 1, 2019. The measure aims to harmonize, downwards, pension rates for beneficiaries who retired before a 2016 reform with those who retired afterwards – the latter of whom receive lower benefits than the former.

Nevertheless, Thomsen echoed other top IMF officials in reminding that the Washington D.C.-based fund is no longer involved in the post-bailout Greek program and, as such, in current discussions over the pension cuts issue, for instance.

He said the Fund is now focused on the Greek economy’s long-term prospects, while adding that the pensions issue is exclusively in the domain of talks between the Eurozone and Greece.

The now decidedly poll-trailing leftist-rightist Greek coalition government is extremely eager to suspend the looming austerity measure, as 2019 will witness no less than three elections: ones for local governments, the European Parliament and general elections, where most of attention is focused.

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