Lagarde returns to debate over debt relief
IMF boss discusses measures to lighten load as doubts persist about Fund role
A form of debt restructuring rather than outright forgiveness should enable Greece to handle its “unsustainable” debt burden, the head of the International Monetary Fund was quoted as telling a Swiss newspaper on Saturday.
Greece’s eurozone creditors, notably Germany, have ruled out a writedown but are willing to consider other forms of restructuring such as a lengthening maturities.
Asked about those differences, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde told Saturday’s edition of Le Temps: “The debate on canceling the debt has never been open. I don’t think it is necessary to open it if things go well...
“We are talking about extending maturities, reducing rates, (making) exemptions for a certain period of time. We are not speaking about canceling debt.”
The interview made no mention of whether the IMF will take part in the new bailout, which Lagarde has previously said it will make a decision on by October.
Last week, however, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble described IMF involvement in the program as “indispensable.”
Lagarde’s interview came as Klaus Regling, head of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), told another publication that Europe will be able to handle future economic crises without the help of the IMF. “Europeans will be able to tackle on their own the next crisis, which will come in the coming decades,” Der Spiegel quoted Regling as saying.