Europe Economy

Lagarde: IMF Will ‘Never Leave the Table’ With Greece


Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, vowed that the organization, which is part-funding Greece’s bailout, will “never leave the table” in negotiations with its new government.

The Greek national flag is seen flying above the parliament building on Syntagma Square in Athens, Greece, on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012.

There has been consternation in the markets in recent weeks after the last Greek election showed a marked swing from centrist parties towards the anti-bailout left wing. A second election will be held in June as the first left the parties unable – or unwilling – to form a coalition government.

“The clear preference of the IMF  is that appropriate implementation of the program is carried out by whichever political forces result from the elections in June,” Lagarde said.

Some of the parties who have been gaining ground are opposed to the austerity restrictions imposed by the IMF and its troika partners as part of the bailout.

Talk of Greece leaving the euro has also intensified. Lagarde told journalists in London that the IMF is examining options including an exit from the euro.

Asked about how to solve the euro zone crisis, she said that “fiscal liability sharing” needed to be increased and growth had to be supported.

One more potential way of sharing fiscal liabilities could be the introduction of Eurobonds, which will be discussed at Wednesday’s meeting of euro zone leaders.