Saturday, April 2, 2016

IMF Wants to Muscle Germany Into Debt Relief for Greece as Part of the Continuing Bailout

A leaked transcript of a conference call between  International Monetary Fund  officials provides fascinating insight into the plotting and scheming that goes on at the highest levels.

We learn from the transcript that the IMF is considering attemting to forceGermany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel to quickly grant wide-ranging debt relief for Greece or allow the Fund to exit Athens’ bailout program after six years. The transcript of an internal IMF conference call was published by WikiLeaks.

During the call, which occurred just two weeks ago, Poul Thomsen, head of the IMF’s European bureau, notes that Berlin is under intense political pressure because of the refugee crisis and suggests confronting Merkel to either agree to debt relief or allow the IMF to exit.

German officials have repeatedly said they could not participate in Greece’s bailout without the IMF on board, and senior members of the Bundestag, Germany's national parliament, have warned Merkel they would reject new eurozone loans to Greece if only EU authorities were monitoring the program.

From the transcript:

“Look, you Ms Merkel, you face a question, you have to think about what is more costly: to go ahead without the IMF? Would the Bundestag say, ‘The IMF is not on board’?” the transcript quotes Thomsen as saying to his staff. “Or [does Merkel] pick the debt relief that we think that Greece needs in order to keep us on board? Right? That is really the issue.”

(via FT)

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