Greek Government Agrees to Hold Discussions with IMF Over Pension Reform



International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde gestures as she speaks about the global economy at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington April 2, 2014. The European Central Bank should ease monetary policy to combat the risk of "low-flation" that could crimp euro zone output and consumer spending, the head of the International Monetary Fund said on Wednesday. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS EDUCATION) - RTR3JO26
International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde gestures as she speaks about the global economy at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington April 2, 2014. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

 

Tsipras’ Syriza-led government has done more somersaults since it came to power than an acrobatic gymnastics team in Olympic competition.

Take for example its stance on the IMF and the so-called Troika in general. First, Tsipras and his lieutenants promised to get the troika out of Greece. Soon, they found out this was a mere fantasy and ended up insulting voters’ intelligence by having the troika renamed “the institutions.”

They also promised that they would not sign a new bailout agreement. This promise also ended up in the trash as Tsipras agreed in the end to a third bailout plan that was in some ways much harsher than the preceding ones.

While discussions were under way for a new bailout agreement, Syriza government officials also let it be known that they did not want to have the IMF included as one of Greece’s creditors. The IMF has yet to commit itself to the new bailout plan, but this has nothing to do with the Greek government’s wishes and only with the IMF’s own disagreement with Germany over Greek debt and its doubts about the new governing party’s commitment to pension reform.

Now, however, as Germany has insisted that there can be no new program without IMF’s participation, the Syriza-led government is willing to have discussions with the IMF over pension reform. Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos is actually afraid that if the pension reform issue is not resolved in a timely manner, the bailout program won’t run.

Much precious time has been lost in addressing Greece’s economic problems since Syriza came to power. In fact, the cost to the Greek economy by the amateurish handling of the crisis by the Syriza-led government runs into billions of euros. What is even worse, is that the Syriza-led government will do in the end exactly what the IMF wants to even on the issue of pension reform.