The International Monetary Fund will not abandon Greece as it struggles with the EU over its bailout program, fund chief Christine Lagarde said today. But Lagarde would not spell out just how the IMF would remain engaged, as Greece and the European Union continue to spar over the issues of economic reforms demanded of Athens and the need for debt relief from official EU lenders.
“We will not walk away. Our form of participation may vary, depending on the commitments of Greece and the undertaking of the European partners. But we will not walk away.”
Greece needs more financial support and relief to avoid failing again to meet its debt obligations under its third financial rescue program this decade.
The IMF has worked with the EU on two previous bailouts but said it would not participate in the latest plan without credible reforms and an EU agreement to ease Greece’s debt burden. But she urged quick movement on both issues.
“The last thing Greece needs at this point in time is delay,” she said.
“There is one point on which I completely agree with the greek authorities, which is that we need and they need to move fast.”
To reach the bailout program objectives of economic stability and sustainability, she said, “there has to be real and realistic numbers and sustainable measures.”