IMF: Talks with Greece Have Gained Momentum

Global lenders’ negotiations with Greece, which have been moving at a crawl recently, have gained some momentum but remained a long way from the finish line, the International Monetary Fund’s European head told a German newspaper.  Athens has been stuck in negotiations with its euro zone partners and the IMF over economic reforms required by its lenders to unlock remaining bailout funds.

“There has been a little bit more impetus in the negotiations between the three institutions and the Greek government for several days,” business daily Handelsblatt on Monday quoted Poul Thomsen as saying, referring to the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the IMF.  “That’s a good development and gives us reason to hope,” said Thomsen, the director of the IMF’s European department and head of its program with Greece.

But he added that they remained “far from the target” and a lot more impetus was needed in the talks for an agreement to be reached in time.  Shut out of bond markets and running out of cash to meet debt repayments and pay civil servants and pensions, Athens may get more aid from both the IMF and euro zone governments if there is agreement on reforms to make its finances sustainable and the economy more competitive.