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Parthenon, Athens, Greece

Parthenon, Athens, Greece

Greece Resident Representative Office

IMF Managing Director Response to a Question on Greece

Online Media Q&A, Washington, DC

February 4, 2016

“I have always said that the Greek program has to walk on two legs: one is significant reforms and one is debt relief. If the pension [system] cannot be as significantly and substantially reformed as needed, we could need more debt relief on the other side. Equally, no [amount of debt relief] will make the pension system sustainable. For the financing of the pension system, the budget has to pay 10 percent of GDP. This is not sustainable. The average in Europe is 2.5 percent. It all needs to add up, but at the same time the pension system needs to be sustainable in the medium and long term. This requires taking short-term measures that will make it sustainable in the long term.

I really don't like it when we are portrayed as the “draconian, rigorous terrible IMF.” We do not want draconian fiscal measures to apply to Greece, which have already made a lot of sacrifices. We have said that fiscal consolidation should not be excessive, so that the economy could work and eventually expand. But it needs to add up. And the pension system needs to be reformed, the tax collection needs to be improved so that revenue comes in and evasion is stopped. And the debt relief by the other Europeans must accompany that process. We will be very attentive to the sustainability of the reforms, to the fact that it needs to add up, and to walk on two legs. That will be our compass for Greece. But we want that country to succeed at the end of the day, but it has to succeed in real life, not on paper.

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News — Highlights

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Greece: Toward a Workable Program, iMFdirect blog post by Poul M. Thomsen, Director, European Department

February 11, 2016 click for more

Statement by IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde on Greece

July 6, 2015 click for more

IMF Statement on Greece

June 30, 2015 click for more

Statement by the European Commission, the ECB and the IMF on Greece

March 19, 2014 click for more

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Greece and the IMF

  • Member since December 27, 1945

  • Quota: SDR1,101.80 million

    Each member country of the IMF is assigned a quota, based broadly on its relative position in the world economy. A member country's quota determines its maximum financial commitment to the IMF, its voting power, and has a bearing on its access to IMF financing.

  • Greece is represented in the Executive Board of the IMF in a group of countries led by Italy and also includes Albania, Greece, Malta, San Marino, and Timor-Leste.

    The Executive Board is responsible for conducting the day-to-day business of the IMF. It is composed of 24 Directors, who are appointed or elected by member countries or by groups of countries. The Managing Director serves as its Chairman. The Board usually meets several times each week. It carries out its work largely on the basis of papers prepared by IMF management and staff.