The two officials discussed the Greek issue ahead of the arrival of Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos for the International Monetary Fund’s Spring Meetings. Tsakalotos will meet with the IMF’s Managing Director Christine Lagarde, the European Central Bank President Mario Draghi, the Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem and Secretary Lew.
Sapin and Lew underlined the need to conclude the bailout program review as soon as possible, with the American official commenting that there is “a long way to go” until the bailout program review concludes, according a MNI report. The French Minister and Secretary Lew agreed that debt relief for Greece is needed.
Regarding recent negative comments from the Greek government against the IMF and the proposal for the fund to be replaced by the European Stability Mechanism, ESM President Klaus Regling noted that the IMF’s financial involvement in the Greek program will be minor, estimating that it may amount to 10% of the program.
The ESM chief, however, added that while the involvement is symbolic, it is nevertheless important because of the fund’s expertise in bailouts.
Meanwhile, IMF Director of European Affairs Poul Thomsen and mission chief for Greece Delia Velculescu reported to the fund’s executive board the progress of the bailout program. According to reports, Thomsen reported to the board that Greece’s pension system reform and management on non-performing loans are the major issues that are still open.