The International Monetary Fund (IMF) denied earlier today, a report published in German Spiegel magazine yesterday that it will temporarily withdraw staff from Athens in reaction to foot-dragging by the Greek government to implement reforms.
In a statement issued today, the Washington-based Fund declared that the three institutions participating in Greece’s bailout program technical teams had spent more than three weeks in Athens, working together with Greek officials. Moreover, as the statement explained, several staff members were being replaced as part of the normal routine. The IMF said talks were continuing.
It is reminded that the German magazine reported that a staff member said that Greek General Secretary of Fiscal Policy Nikos Theocharakis, during the most recent teleconference has called the technical team of the Brussels Group — the representatives of creditors — “completely incompetent.” The slow pace of negotiations and the attitude of the Greek team of technocrats has forced the IMF to recall its staff from Greece for a few days, the report said. Der Spiegel also said that Mr. Theocharakis was on the same wavelength as Greek Interior Minister Nikos Voutsis who stated in the same magazine that if Greece does not receive any money from its European partners and the European Central Bank (ECB) by April 9, “then we will pay salaries and pensions first, and then we will ask the IMF for a special agreement with the understanding that we will delay the payment of 450 million euros to them.” The statement was later denied by Greek government spokesperson Gavrill Sakellaridis and a number of officials.
Greece’s outspoken Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis will meet with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde in Washington tomorrow. The two officials are expected to hold an informal discussion regarding the Greek government’s reforms list.