Monday’s Euro Working Group meeting did not result in a decision for the return of the institutions to Athens, with the European side and IMF disagreeing on major issues. As such, it appears that the negotiations will continues on “the highest level”, with the return of the institutions to Athens likely to be determined at the upcoming Eurogroup on the 7th of March.
Reports suggest that the IMF was pressured over its stance and why it has operated outside of the program agreed in August 2015, as well as why it has revised its consolidation estimates, from 1% to 4% of the GDP.
Government sources reveal that the IMF Mission Chief to Greece Delia Velculescu had no response. When she was then asked by the Alternate Minister of Finances Giorgos Houliarakis if the IMF has considered what will happen if there is no bailout program, as a result of the IMF’s stance, she remained silent.
The IMF estimates that 2015 closed with a 0.6% primary deficit and 2% rate of recession. A senior Greek government official however claimed that the IMF estimates are “entirely arbitrary” and conceal ulterior motives. Furthermore, the official cited the European Commission estimates for 2015, which include a 0.2% primary surplus and marginal rate of recession.