Eurozone bailout fund chides IMF over Greece blog

13 December 2016
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The eurozone’s ESM bailout fund criticized the International Monetary Fund on Tuesday after senior IMF staff used a blog to criticize the eurozone’s demand that Athens commit to a large primary surplus in 2018.

An ESM spokesman said the European institutions were surprised to discover a blog posting on negotiations with the Greek government as new talks were starting in Athens.

“We hope that we can return to the practice of conducting program negotiations with the Greek government in private,” the spokesman said.

The head of the IMF’s European Department Poul Thomsen and chief economist Maury Obstfeld wrote in an article the Fund believed that eurozone insistence on a Greek primary surplus of 3.5 percent in 2018 was wrong and 1.5 percent would be enough.

The IMF is instead calling for the creation of a reformed welfare system financed with cash from an adjustment of the Greek tax system and far too generous pensions.

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