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IMF’s Lagarde issues call to ‘get real’ on Greek crisis

FRANCE 24 screengrab

In an exclusive interview with FRANCE 24 Thursday, IMF chief Christine Lagarde called on the international community to “move forward” on trying to solve the Greek crisis by adopting realistic measures.

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“We believe everyone has to get real and focus on the real measures, on realistic objectives – particularly in the medium to long term – and on a real debt operation,” explained Lagarde. “If those three factors are combined, there’s no reason why we can’t move forward. But real reforms have to take place, they cannot be a quick-fix that works for one year or two.”

Lagarde’s interview with FRANCE 24 in Washington, DC, came as Greece tussels with the EU over its bailout programme fund and the 28-member bloc attempts to enforce the crippling reforms it has demanded of Athens.

Greece needs more financial support and relief to avoid failing to meet its debt obligations under its third financial rescue programme 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 speaking on the sidelines of the IMF’s annual Spring Meetings, Lagarde insisted the crisis would not reach the “boiling point” as it did last year. “There won’t be a showdown because there’s more work to be done,” she said. “The real objective is to move forward ... We have repeatedly said the Greek economy needs to walk on two legs: one was real reforms, particularly on pensions, income tax reforms and on the governance of banks. And on the other hand – other leg, if you will – has to be a debt operation that lightens the burden of debt on Greece. The two have to come together.”
 

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