Greece’s next dollop of bailout money is caught in an international dispute with no clear resolution. The heavily indebted Mediterranean nation needs the next installment of about 7 billion euros ($7.6 billion) to repay lenders in a few months, but some euro-area governments, notably Germany, refuse to supply more money until the International Monetary Fund comes on board. The IMF, in turn, is refusing to join the creditors’ club until Greece’s debt burden is eased — which Germany refuses to do. Franz Kafka would appreciate the absurdity of the latest twist in the Greek debt crisis, though investors aren’t amused.
1. Isn’t it the IMF’s job to help countries in distress?
Yes, but having come to Greece’s rescue twice in the past, this time it’s hesitating. The IMF says two conditions must be met before it co-finances the country’s ongoing third bailout. First, Athens must agree to a set of credible reforms, particularly of its pension and tax systems. Second, the IMF insists that the euro area ease Greece’s debt burden. While neither condition has been fully met, talks have advanced on the fiscal policies Greece needs to implement to get fresh bailout loans.
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