The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is not in a position to impose policies on Greece, IMF spokesperson Gerry Rice said on Thursday. He was commenting on a decision by the Eurogroup Working Group (EWG) in Brussels to go along with plans to scrap pension cuts that had been scheduled to take effect at the start of 2019.
According to Rice, it was an issue that exclusively concerned the Greek government and Greece’s European partners since the IMF no longer has a programme in Greece and is not a party to the details of the discussions underway.
Asked to comment on the IMF’s role in the post-programme surveillance of Greece, he clarified that the Fund was involved in a strictly advisory capacity and noted that the IMF “does not impose policies on our members”.
“These are their policies and we try to support them…we do not currently have any economic programme in Greece. We have what we call a post-programme surveillance arrangement where we visit Greece from time to time and examine the economy in collaboration with the Greek government and offer an analysis of our assessment, with the aim of being useful to Greece. However, we do not impose policies on member-states, we do not impose policies on Greece. We are not in a position to do so,” he said.
Rice noted that the IMF’s position on the issue of pensions had not changed, repeating that this was an issue that should be discussed by the Greek government and its European partners. He said the next IMF mission to Greece to monitor the Greek economy will take place in early 2019.
“We continue to encourage Greece to use all the tools it has at its disposal to arrive at policies that are friendlier to growth and have a social emphasis. This has been our position for some time. In the implementation of the prelegislated package of measures for 2019-2020, if this can free up fiscal space for measures that are friendlier to growth then we will obviously support this. But again, this really is a decision that must be discussed between the Greek government and the Europeans,” Rice added.
WASHINGTON (ANA/ P. Kasfikis)