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Commission spox: Brussels considers Greek program policies correct; able to lead to sustainable growth

By N. Bellos

A European Commission spokeswoman on Tuesday made it clear that the Commission does not share the position expressed by top IMF officials Maurice Obstfeld and Poul Thomsen a day earlier regarding the Greek program, saying Brussels considers the policies in place as correct and able to lead the country to sustainable growth and access to the markets for its future lending needs.

Spokeswoman Annika Breidthardt made the statement in response to a press question over the IMF officials’ article, where the latter essentially argued that without additional austerity measures Greece will not be able to meet 3.5-percent primary budget surplus targets after 2018.

Breidthardt said Brussels carefully read the post on the IMF’s blog, while reminding that Greece has already undertaken significant reforms and is on course to meet fiscal targets. She also added that it was important for creditors to acknowledge the Greek achievements so far.

Finally, she said a staff-level agreement could be achieved very soon between the Greek side and institutional creditors, given the progress that has been made to date for a conclusion to the second review of the Greek program (third bailout).   

Obstfeld is the economic counsellor and the IMF’s director of research, while Thomsen is the director of the IMF’s European department and the Fund’s previous top representative for Greece.