The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is currently mulling “approval in principle” of Greece’s programme without financial participation, IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said on Thursday.
Rice said that the Fund considers such an approval in principle “to be the second-best choice, since the target remains to achieve an overall agreement that will allow the country to be financed by the IMF.” For this to happen, however, in addition to the legislation of reforms there must also be a clarification of the measures that will be adopted to relieve Greece’s debt, he said.
Rice said that the talks on Greece were continuing and that progress has been made. However, given Greece’s high financing needs in July and in order to avoid “undesirable” situations of the sort that have occurred in the past, the IMF was prepared to proceed with an “approval in principle” as it had done for certain countries during the 1980s, he added.
The spokesman said that this solution would safeguard the progress made in Greece, taking into account the Greek people and the sacrifices they have made. It will also act as a catalyst for a comprehensive agreement, for which debt relief was a necessary requirement. Finally, it will avert any critical situations in July, given Greece’s high financing needs in that month.
The spokesman said that an “approval in principle” could pave the way for payment of the next installments of bailout loans by the European lenders. In order for the IMF to participate with its own funds, however, there has to first be an agreement on debt relief for Greece. Only in that case can the IMF board approve a financial contribution in the Greek programme, he said.
Rice expressed hope that such an agreement will be reached before the next Eurogroup taking place on June 15, which IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde will be attending.