Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Opposition leader Mitsotakis warns Greek tax rises will stifle growth

by Kerin Hope

Financial Times

June 22, 2016

Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Greek opposition leader, has a blunt message for the country’s international creditors and Alexis Tsipras, its leftwing leader: tax rises that the prime minister insists are central to Greece’s recovery are a costly mistake.

He said the fiscal measures rolled out this month as part of a €5.4bn austerity package agreed with the EU and the International Monetary Fund in return for more bailout cash will stifle growth, cut revenues and push many more Greeks into tax evasion and the black economy.

“What you have is the cumulative impact of taxation that goes well beyond … capacity [to pay]”, Mr Mitsotakis told the Financial Times. “After five years, many people have literally run out of money.”

Following a warning from the Greek central bank that “excessive emphasis” in higher taxes could backfire, Mr Mitsotakis insisted the government should have focused on structural reforms, such as to the public sector, which would have made tax increases unnecessary.

“This country has both a culture and considerable expertise in tax evasion,” Mr Mitsotakis said. “That’s why the Tsipras [plan], which the EU ended up approving, isn’t going to work.”

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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Greek Startups Say Tsipras’s Taxes Are One More Reason to Leave

by Paul Tugwell

Bloomberg

June 14, 2016

Greek startups have weathered political turmoil, violent riots, a withering economy and brinkmanship that nearly drove the country out of the euro. Now, a new round of tax increases may be the last straw for fledgling companies with dreams of making it big.

What startups need is a break, says Vassilis Sioros, chief executive officer of Ardustech P.C., a small company with big plans for the use of olive oil in the pharmaceuticals, food and cosmetics industries.

“No startup is asking the government for money,” he said in an interview from Athens. “The state can invest without giving money by allowing startups to pay no tax or social security contributions for one year, or at least reduce them. This can help give at least another year of life to a startup allowing for the creation of one or two more jobs.”

Startups have become a key piece of any revival for Greece’s economy, which has shrunk by more than a quarter since 2008 and where almost 25 percent of the workforce is without a job. The number of such firms has almost doubled each year since 2010. With many still struggling to find funding, startups see the taxes and charges agreed to between Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s government and European creditors as adding yet another wrinkle to their already difficult environment.

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Monday, June 13, 2016

Greece needs a new deal with its European partners

by Yannis Stournaras

Financial Times

June 13, 2016

Greece is the only country in Europe that still remains under an adjustment programme. The Greek political system failed the country in the second half of the previous decade. Successive Greek governments promised to fix the tax collection system, uproot the deeply entrenched vested interests and implement ambitious reforms and privatisations. But, with few exceptions, they did not deliver.

At the same time, our European partners have yet to deliver on their commitment to provide further debt relief. They agreed to it in November 2012 and it should have occurred in 2014 after Greece achieved, with considerable pain, a primary surplus of €1.5bn in 2013. It never happened. The decision was delayed due to the domestic electoral cycle of various European countries. The same happened on May 24 this year when the eurogroup of finance ministers yet again postponed the relevant decision, to 2018, despite the fact that it explicitly recognised the need to keep the Greek government’s gross financing needs at manageable levels and the ratio of debt to gross domestic product at a declining trend.

It should be stressed that the eurogroup postponed the decision for debt relief in spite of the following: first, that the Greek government had honoured its commitments; and second, that current market interest rates are very favourable to debt relief decisions for both borrower and lenders. In addition, the threat of Grexit, used against Greece by a number of eurozone politicians whenever negotiations seemed to stall, weighed heavily on sentiment, further fuelling uncertainty and negatively affecting the economic and social climate in Greece.

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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Move over Croatia, this year festival goers are heading to Greece

by Tess Reidy

Guardian

June 8, 2016

Clubbing in Greece has come a long way since the days of drinking ouzo and climbing partially lit mountain trails to listen to Cretan music in ancient ruins. This summer, there are quality electronic music festivals taking place, with lineups including DJ Harvey, Midland and Jeremy Underground. You can snorkel in the day, party on the beach at night and even hike down a gorge to recover if you want.

Could Greece’s music scene restore its reputation as a tourist hotspot after years of economic downturn, social unrest and the human crisis that has led to overcrowded refugee camps?

Sean Tipton, from the Association of British Travel Agents, says yes. “More than 2 million visits were made to Greece from the UK last year and so far bookings for 2016 are looking set to overtake this figure,” he explains. “It is really positive for Greece after some years of decline.”

One explanation is to be found in the revival of dance music. The electronic music scene is the driving force behind a whole host of events this summer such as Odyssia festival in Alepokhóri, Attiki, Rhythmatic open air festival in Pelion and Reworks festival in Thessaloniki.

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Tsakalotos Says Greece Will Soon Qualify for ECB’s QE Plan

Bloomberg
June 8, 2016

Greek bonds will soon become eligible for the European Central Bank’s asset-purchase program, paving the way for an easing of capital controls, and the gradual recovery of investor confidence, Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos said.

The continent’s most indebted state is currently excluded from the quantitative easing program, while its lenders have lost access to regular financing lines, as a quarrel between Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Greece’s creditors in 2015 raised doubts about its solvency and place in the euro area. The flow of bailout loans keeping Greece afloat is slated to resume this month, after the government committed to additional austerity.

“QE could follow as soon as July’s maturing debt is paid,” Tsakalotos said in an interview, referring to a July 20 payment of notes held by the ECB. “I feel confident Greek debt will be eligible” by September, he said.

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IMF Go Home

by Daniel Gros

Project Syndicate

June 8, 2016

The curtains are up on another act of the Greek debt drama. Eurozone finance ministers and the International Monetary Fund have agreed with Greece to begin, per the IMF’s demands, providing some debt relief to the country, and to release €10.3 billion ($11.6 billion) in bailout funds. Greece, for its part, has agreed to another round of austerity and structural reform.

Until recently, the IMF insisted that it would participate in the next Greek rescue program only if it deemed Greek debt to be sustainable. Based on the IMF’s most recent debt sustainability analysis, that is not the case. Germany, however, insisted that the IMF remain on board – and, with the latest deal, it seems to have prevailed, in exchange for agreeing to debt relief that it opposed.

The victory may well not have been worth the sacrifice. In fact, it would have been better to let the IMF pull out, for two reasons. First, the IMF’s assessments of debt sustainability in Greece are undermined by a deep conflict of interest. Second, and more important, IMF credits are too expensive.

In a normal bailout procedure, the IMF acts as an impartial judge of the troubled country’s debt sustainability; then, if it so chooses, it can step in as the lender of last resort. This is what happened in 2010, when the private sector wanted to flee from Greece and a systemic crisis loomed.

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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Painful choices still hang over Greece

by Martin Wolf

Financial Times

June 7, 2016

Is there a path towards making Greece a successful self-financing economy within the eurozone? What would be required to put it on that path? These are the big questions about the economic plight of Greece and its ghastly relations with its partners. Neither has much to do with what is going on, which is “extend and pretend”: the eurozone pretends Greece is not in default; Greece pretends it will reform; and both play for time. What would an honest reckoning look like?

A starting point must be with the latest debt sustainability analysis from the International Monetary Fund. One can sum this up simply: we would like to apologise for the mess we have made.

The fund admits that the programme agreed in 2010 was wildly unrealistic. Moreover, even the debt relief imposed in 2011-12 was insufficient, unless one believed in the plausibility of the “very ambitious targets for growth, the fiscal surplus, and privatisation” proposed by the Greek government, with support of its eurozone partners.

Subsequent events, however, demonstrate that these targets were indeed unachievable. Finally: “In all key policy areas — fiscal, financial sector stability, labour, product and service markets — the authorities’ current policy plans fall short of what would be required to achieve their ambitious fiscal and growth targets.”

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Monday, June 6, 2016

EU sees progress on Greek reform, '95 percent' of work done to unlock funds

Reuters
June 6, 2016

The European Commission is confident that Greece will conclude the reforms needed to unlock bailout funds before next week's meeting of euro zone finance ministers, top officials said on Monday.

Greece and its international lenders wrapped up the bulk of reforms needed for badly needed bailout cash in May, but left some loose ends which must be tied up before Athens can receive instalments of 10.3 billion euros ($11.48 billion) by September.

"The Greek authorities have done 95 per cent of changes necessary but not all is finalised. Some changes have to be made in the coming hours," Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici told EU lawmakers in Strasbourg.

"I am confident Athens will use the time before the Eurogroup to finalise the limited issues that are still open," Moscovici added, saying that a disbursement of a first tranche of 7.5 billion euros could be decided as early as next week and be made this month.

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Thursday, June 2, 2016

ECB holds back on ultra-cheap loans to Greek banks

Financial Times
June 2, 2016

The European Central Bank has dealt a blow to Greece’s attempts to rehabilitate its ailing financial system, saying it would wait at least three more weeks before allowing Greek banks access to its ultra-cheap loans.

The delay came at Thursday’s ECB meeting in Vienna where policymakers left interest rates on hold even though they marginally raised forecasts for eurozone growth and inflation. The cautious stance defied market expectations of a more robust upgrade in economic projections.

Senior officials in Athens had believed the ECB governing council would use the Vienna meeting to reinstate a waiver that allows the central bank to accept Greek government bonds as collateral for their cheap loans, despite the bonds’ junk credit rating. Greek optimism stemmed from last week’s deal to release €7.5bn in EU bailout funds next month after a long stand-off.

Instead Mario Draghi, the ECB president, said while the council discussed the waiver, no decision would be made until Athens had completed all elements of the first review of its €86bn bailout, a prerequisite to getting the €7.5bn tranche.

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Monday, May 30, 2016

Greece and Creditors Spar Over Legislation Changes

by Nektaria Stamouli

Wall Street Journal

May 30, 2016

Greece is arguing with its international creditors about a few small but politically sensitive measures creditors want implemented before they release some €7.5 billion ($8.4 billion) of badly needed bailout funds.

A teleconference between Greek officials and representatives of the country’s lenders failed on Sunday to reach agreement on whether and how Greece should amend recent legislation to comply with the conditions of its bailout program.

Creditors, represented by the European Commission, other eurozone institutions, and the International Monetary Fund, say Greece must make specific changes to recent laws on areas including banking regulation, retiree benefits, and privatization. But Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos has written a letter to the commission, the IMF and the European Central Bank saying his government can’t carry out all of the lenders’ demands, according to Greek officials, citing political obstacles.

Greece needs its bailout funding by mid-July at the latest, when it must repay heavy debts, including bonds held by the ECB. Considering the amount of legislation that has already passed, it is unlikely the deal would be scuttled over the issues.

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European Money Doesn’t Like Greece

by Mark Whitehouse

Bloomberg

May 30, 2016

Greece and its creditors may have averted a crisis by agreeing on the release of another dose of bailout money, but the deal does little to address a deeper problem: Europeans still don't want to put their money there.

The flow of capital between the rest of the euro area and Greece offers a useful indicator of confidence in the integrity of the currency union. It can be tracked by looking at the Bank of Greece's liabilities to other central banks in the currency union -- a number that rises, for example, when concerns that Greece will abandon the euro prompt people to move currency out of the country.

The ascendance of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras's leftist Syriza party to power, and its prolonged standoff with creditors, prompted an exodus: During the year through June 2015, an amount equivalent to more than 40 percent of Greece's annual economic output fled the country. This stopped after Tsipras did a U-turn in July, agreeing to harsh deficit-reducing measures in return for more loans. Not much private money, though, has come back since then -- reflecting both the effect of capital controls and persistent concerns about whether Greece will remain in the euro area.

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Friday, May 27, 2016

Greece’s debt deal is not a game-changer

by Yannis Palaiologos

Financial Times

May 27, 2016

On Wednesday, Greece’s creditors agreed to release more than €10bn in bailout money and to consider ways of restructuring the country’s debt. Some breathed a sigh of relief that a renewed escalation of the Greek debt crisis had been averted. Others observed that, once again, the path of messy compromise had been chosen and the day of reckoning postponed.

It is useful to recall how we got here, and ask whether there is any chance that Greece will escape the fate of being seen as Europe’s eternal problem child. The thoughts of seasoned observers of Greece’s travails over the past half-decade will have turned back to the spring of 2010, the early days of the crisis, when there appeared to be some movement on the issue of possible relief to go along with any eventual bailout programme.

The International Monetary Fund, its fingers burnt in the Argentine debt crisis of 2001, seemed resolved not to make big loans to members unless it could be near-certain that their debt was sustainable, which Greece’s clearly was not. There were meetings between IMF staff and French and German officials. In Athens, the investment bank Lazard did a study on ways to lighten the country’s Olympian debt load.

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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Deal Between Greek Creditors Doesn’t End Saga

by Marcus Walker & Gabriele Steinhauser

Wall Street Journal

May 25, 2016

A truce between Greece’s creditors averts an immediate panic over Greek bankruptcy this summer, yet as officials and onlookers digested the deal, it became apparent that less was agreed than meets the eye.

The deal, struck in the small hours of Wednesday morning at the Eurogroup meeting of eurozone finance ministers in Brussels, broke an impasse between Germany and the International Monetary Fund that was holding up Greece’s bailout funding for this summer.

But by papering over deeper differences, the deal sets up tough haggling over the country’s debt and economic overhauls for this fall and beyond.

The main breakthrough, heralded by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, is that the IMF agreed in principle to rejoin the Greek bailout effort this year with new loans. In return, Germany and other eurozone countries pledged to restructure Greece’s rescue loans in 2018 “if…needed.” That promise fell short of the IMF’s demand that Europe should decide now how it would relieve Greece’s debt in coming years.

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Greece’s Inconclusive Debt Deal

by Simon Nixon

Wall Street Journal

May 25, 2016

Greece has a new debt deal—but then it was always going to get a new debt deal.

Time and again, the eurozone has demonstrated that it is bound together by impressive reservoirs of political will: not only the will of debtors such as the Greeks, for whom the euro is both a trusted store of value and a symbol of their common European destiny, but also the will of creditors, who have been unwilling to risk the great costs and inevitable political upheavals of a eurozone breakup. Indeed, the determination to reach a deal was even greater at a time the breakup of the European Union itself is on the table in the U.K.’s Brexit referendum.

Even so, the deal agreed on Tuesday night is hardly the decisive break in the Greek debt crisis originally envisaged under the bailout deal thrashed out last summer. By now, Athens was supposed to have undertaken far-reaching reforms of its tax and pension system, the eurozone to have delivered meaningful debt relief, and the International Monetary Fund to have agreed to help finance the program.

Instead, Greece has promised to tackle the reforms “if needed” to hit its 2018 budget target, the eurozone will deliver the debt relief “if needed” when the program ends in 2018, and the IMF will join the program by the end of this year, subject to technical clarifications. This is a classic euro-fudge, whose purpose is to kick the can decisively down the road, deferring the grittiest political decisions until 2017 and 2018.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The IMF, Trying to Lend Europe Credibility for a Greek Bailout, Risks Losing Some of Its Own

by Ian Talley

Wall Street Journal

May 25, 2016

The International Monetary Fund acted tough on Greek debt relief. But it appears to have caved under pressure by its largest shareholders, the U.S. and Europe.

That means Greece’s economic crisis will likely continue to simmer. It also means the fund may again forfeit some of its credibility for the sake of the eurozone.

“The agreement does little to address the underlying problems the Greek economy is currently suffering,” IHS Global Insight economists Diego Iscaro and Blanka Kolenikova said of Europe’s fresh bailout deal. “The promises of debt relief are, in our view, too distant and vague to make a material impact on confidence.”

Facing German resistance to upfront debt relief, European, U.S. and IMF officials worried another Greek standoff could fuel global economic and geopolitical instability by giving leverage to proponents of a U.K. exit from the European Union.

“There will be no repeat of last year’s drama,” said Marc Chandler, global head of currency strategy at investment bank Brown Brothers Harriman.

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Just enough Greek debt relief to keep IMF on board

by Pierre Briançon

Politico

May 25, 2016

The finance ministers of the eurozone early Wednesday agreed on a new set of funding measures for Greece that was bolder than forecast but nonetheless falls way short of the radical steps needed to put Athens on a sound financial path.

One of the package’s most important consequences will be to allow the International Monetary Fund to continue participating in the Greek financial rescue after the Eurogroup of finance ministers agreed on the initial details of a debt-relief program for the cash-strapped country.

The finance ministers’ deal, reached after an 11-hour meeting, was deemed “a major breakthrough” by Eurogroup President and Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijselbloem. But its only certain impact is that it will allow Greece to meet payments due this summer, thanks to the first disbursement of a €7.5 billion loan tranche next month.

Beyond that, six years after the Greek debt crisis shook the eurozone to its foundations, a Eurogroup deal may once again be seen as a messy compromise mostly aimed at playing for time. Once again, it can be criticized for skirting the radical decisions that would allow Greece to stand on a firmer footing. And once again, it will be seen as a cynical ploy to avoid those decisions because of electoral politics: in this case, postponing major choices until after the 2017 German elections.

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Eurozone and IMF Strike Deal on Greek Debt

by Viktoria Dendrinou & Gabriele Steinhauser

Wall Street Journal

May 25, 2016

Eurozone finance ministers and the International Monetary Fund patched together a deal in the early hours of Wednesday that clears the way for fresh loans for Greece and sets out how the country could get debt relief in the future.

The ministers, who held an 11-hour meeting in Brussels, said Greece had done what was necessary to unlock the next slice of financial aid, concluding a review of its bailout that was delayed for months. The new payouts will save Greece from defaulting on big debt redemptions to the IMF and European Central Bank in July.

“On the package of reforms Greece had committed to last summer, we now have full agreement,” said Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch finance minister who presided over the meeting of finance ministers.

Once all 19 eurozone countries have formally signed off on the new deal, Greece will get €10.3 billion ($11.48 billion) in fresh loans, starting with a €7.5 billion installment in the second half of June.

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Another missed opportunity for a more lasting deal to help Greece

by Raoul Ruparel

Open Europe

May 25, 2016

The Eurogroup yesterday reached an agreement on releasing further bailout funds to Greece as well as a partial agreement on debt relief. However, for the most part the tough decisions are once again delayed, leaving Greece in an uncertain position moving forward. Open Europe Raoul Ruparel explains.

What has been agreed?

You can find the Eurogroup statement here and the press release here which spell out the key points of the agreement.

Essentially the first review of the third Greek bailout is now completed and the funds – €10.3bn in total, €7.5bn in June – can now be released. This means Greece will avoid any extended funding dramas this summer and will be able to repay the maturing bonds held by the ECB (as always expected).

More interesting, is that there was a broader agreement on debt relief, though this mostly involved delaying the key decisions until 2018 – after the current bailout is completed. The key points are:
  • Short term – use funding tools available to smooth Greece interest payments on Eurozone bailout loans.
  • Medium term – after 2018 provide greater debt relief via some combination of: extending the maturity of Greek bailout loans, repaying profits on bonds held by the ECB to Greece and buying out the more expensive IMF loans using leftover funds from the bailout. Keep Greece funding needs under 15% of GDP per year.
  • Long term – consider further steps to help Greece keep funding needs under 20% GDP per year. May create mechanism where these kick in automatically if funding need rises above threshold.
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How Greece Got Another Debt Deal

by Marcus Walker

Wall Street Journal

May 25, 2016

The deadlock between Germany and the International Monetary Fund which has held Greece’s bailout funding hostage this spring has been broken. The deal falls short of a definitive peace that resolves conflicts between Greece and its international creditors. Rather, it’s a truce that aims to keep the difficulties and tensions manageable for a while longer. But for how long?


Q: What Does the Deal Boil Down To?

A:
The IMF told eurozone governments it will recommend a new Greek loan facility to its board – the precondition that Germany had set for releasing any further bailout funding for Greece. In return, the IMF got much less than it wanted in the way of reductions to Greece’s debt.

Instead of a European decision now to restructure Greece’s bailout loans progressively in coming years, the IMF won only a promise by Germany and other eurozone governments to review the situation in 2018, and to take measures “if…needed.”

The IMF said it still needs to crunch the numbers, thus withholding its final consent to rejoining the bailout as a lender. But that looks more like a face-saver than a usable escape hatch. It’s unlikely that the IMF can withdraw now, because it has already given in on the main question that divided the fund and Berlin. The IMF agreed last night that final decisions on debt relief will be delayed until the end of the bailout program, as Germany wanted.

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Greece reaches breakthrough deal with creditors

Financial Times
May 25, 2016

Greece’s international creditors have bought time to secure the country’s financial future after agreeing broad but inexact principles to ease its debt mountain and break an impasse between Germany and the International Monetary Fund.

After almost 11 hours of talks in Brussels, eurozone finance ministers and the IMF agreed to a range of measures to restructure Greece’s debts when its €86bn bailout ends in 2018 — but put no figures on the concessions and left them subject to political decisions by eurozone countries. Most significant decisions would be taken after the German federal elections next year.

Reacting to the news of the breakthrough on Wednesday, Greek 10-year bonds yielded under 7 per cent for the first time since November.

One of the debt relief options involves dramatically reducing the IMF’s exposure to the Greek programme by buying out up to €14.6bn of its loans. For now, the IMF said it would participate financially in the programme at some stage later this year — a crucial demand for Germany — but only if the eurozone committed to a scale of relief that meets the fund’s normal lending guidelines.

“We have achieved a major breakthrough on Greece which enables us to enter a new phase in the Greek financial assistance programme,” said Jeroen Dijsselbloem, president of the eurogroup.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Greek police start to move migrants out of Idomeni camp

by Kerin Hope

Financial Times

May 24, 2016

Greek police have begun transferring refugees and migrants from a tent camp at Idomeni next to the shuttered border crossing with Macedonia to accommodation in the city of Thessaloniki.

The operation to close the site where more than 8,000 people have been camped out in overcrowded conditions will take about a week, said George Kyritsis, head of the government’s migration co-ordination unit.

More than 14,000 police officers, including riot squad units sent from Athens, sealed off surrounding roads early on Tuesday and instructed volunteers and aid workers to leave the camp. Journalists and television crews were kept 6km from the site.

Buses began transporting people from the camp shortly after 7am, while dozens left on foot. By evening, more than 2,000 people had been bussed to Thessaloniki, where they will be housed in newly refurbished former industrial premises, police said.

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Monday, May 23, 2016

IMF: Substantial Re-Profiling of European Loans to Greece is Required

by Ian Talley

Wall Street Journal

May 23, 2016

The International Monetary Fund said Monday Greece’s European creditors must give the country “upfront unconditional” debt relief to win additional financing from the emergency lender, setting the stage for contentious bailout talks among Eurogroup finance ministers Tuesday.

The IMF’s comments, made in an updated assessment of the measures needed to put the country’s financial obligations onto a sustainable path, are at odds with Europe’s more rosy outlook and resistance by powerhouse Germany to any type of debt relief for the Mediterranean nation. It puts to rest, at least for the moment, speculation the IMF might compromise on its increasingly strict line that Greece needs concrete, realistic and upfront debt relief to win fund support and ramps up the pressure on Europe to grant Greece a restructuring.

Greece needs the bailout cash to avert a debt default in July at the latest. Some in Europe, and many officials around the world, fear the Greek problem threatens to deepen fissures building in the European Union, including the possibility of a U.K. exit from the EU.

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Saturday, May 21, 2016

The IMF and calling Berlin’s bluff over Greece

by Wolfgang Münchau

Financial Times

May 21, 2016

At one level, the recurring Greek crises fit the idea from Karl Marx of history repeating itself, first as tragedy then as farce. Greece came close to a eurozone exit last summer. While it will probably come close this year, it is unlikely to leave.

But prepare for some tense moments in the next few weeks and months as Greece and its creditors struggle to agree the first review of last year’s bailout.

The International Monetary Fund has concluded that Greek public debt, at 180 per cent of gross domestic product, is unsustainable; as is the agreed annual primary budget surplus, before interest payments, of 3.5 per cent of GDP. The fund insists on debt relief, but Germany resists.

A year ago Angela Merkel, German chancellor, and Wolfgang Schäuble, her finance minister, sold the Greek bailout to their party and parliament as a loan only. They argued that once you accept a debt writedown, you turn a loan into a transfer. And once you accept the principle of a one-off transfer to Greece, you are on a slippery road to what the Germans call a transfer union, one where they pay and others receive.

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Friday, May 20, 2016

IMF Said to Seek Delay of Greek Loan Repayments Until 2040

Reuters
May 20, 2016

The International Monetary Fund proposed that Greece shouldn’t make payments on its European bailout loans until 2040, underscoring key differences with euro-area lenders over the future of the Greek economy.

The Washington-based fund’s debt-restructuring proposal, contained in an IMF document obtained by Bloomberg News, goes much further than anything advanced by euro-area creditors who are locked in talks to trigger Greece’s next aid payout. Finance ministers from the currency union will meet on May 24 in Brussels to discuss the debt-relief options.

The IMF wants all payments on European loans granted to Greece since its first bailout in 2010 to be deferred until at least 2040 with maturities extended until 2080, according to the note. Interest payments on loans from the euro area’s crisis fund would be fixed at a maximum 1.5 percent until at least 2045. The IMF’s projections for the Greek economy rely on a baseline assumption that debt will rise to 293.8 percent of gross domestic product by 2060 without the proposed measures.

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