Monday, August 6, 2012

IMF Pushes Europe to Ease Greek Burden

Wall Street Journal
August 6, 2012

The International Monetary Fund, facing discontent among its members about the huge sums it has lent to the euro zone, is pushing the currency bloc's governments to take steps to lighten the burden of the bailout loans they made to Athens, officials familiar with continuing discussions said.

The IMF pressure—which officials said has been clear in private discussions among Greece's official lenders—comes in response to mounting evidence that Greece's deep recession has thrown the country's bailout program woefully off track from targets set earlier this year.

IMF officials maintain Greece's debt must be reduced to "sustainable" levels before the fund releases billions more euros to keep Athens from running out of cash, some officials said. The most effective way to do this would be for Greece's bailout lenders to forgive some of the debts Greece owes them.

Such a step would meet fierce resistance from euro-zone governments, such as Germany, which have already lent €127 billion ($157 billion) to Greece and are adamant that it shouldn't expect any more concessions.

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