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IMF Reaches Staff-level Agreement with Greece on €30 Billion Stand-By Arrangemen

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Press Release No. 10/176
May 2, 2010
Mr. Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund
(IMF) issued the following statement today on Greece:
“The Greek government has designed an ambitious policy package to address the ec
onomic crisis facing the nation. It is a multi-year program which begins with su
bstantial up-front efforts to correct Greece's grave fiscal imbalances, make the
economy more competitive and—over time—restore growth and jobs. We believe thes
e efforts, along with the government’s firm commitment to implement them, will g
et the economy back on track and restore market confidence.
“Fiscal policy and pro-growth measures are the two main pillars of the governmen
t’s program. A combination of spending cuts and revenue increases amounting to 1
1 percent of GDP—on top of the measures already taken earlier this year—are desi
gned to achieve a turnaround in the public debt-to-GDP ratio beginning in 2013 a
nd will reduce the fiscal deficit to below 3 percent of GDP by 2014. Measures fo
r 2010 involve a reduction of public sector wages and pension outlays —which are
unavoidable given that those two elements alone constitute some 75 percent of t
otal (non-interest) public spending in Greece.
“Pro-growth measures will be aimed at modernizing the economy and boosting its c
ompetitiveness so that it can emerge from the crisis as quickly as possible. Ste
ps include strengthening income and labor markets policies; better managing and
investing in state enterprises and improving the business environment. Reforms t
o fight waste and corruption—eliminating non-transparent procurement practices,
for example--are also being undertaken.
“In addition, the government is taking decisive steps to strengthen and safeguar
d the financial system. A Financial Stability Fund—fully financed under the prog
ram—will ensure a sound level of bank equity.
“The authorities’ program is designed with fairness in mind. There will be a mor
e progressive tax scale for all sources of income; a clampdown on tax evasion an
d a step up in prosecution of the worst offenders; and stronger enforcement and
audit of high-wealth individuals.
“In addition, there will be protection for the most vulnerable groups. The reduc
tions in wages and pensions are designed largely to exempt those living on the m
inimum. Social expenditures also will be revised to strengthen the safety net fo
r the most vulnerable people.
“Finally, there will be a significant reduction in military expenditures during
the program period.
“To support Greece’s effort to get its economy back on track the Euro Area membe
rs have pledged a total of €80 billion (about US$105 billion) in bilateral loans
. An IMF staff mission, in consultation with representatives from the European
Commission and the European Central Bank, also reached agreement today with the
Greek authorities to support this program with a three-year SDR 26 billion (abou
t €30 billion; or US$40 billion) Stand-By Arrangement. Our joint commitment will
bring total financing to €110 billion (about US$145 billion). We have also acti
vated the Fund’s fast-track procedures for consideration of Greece’s Stand-By Ar
rangement, and I expect the arrangement will go to the Executive Board for appro
val within the week.
“We believe these strong measures by the Greek government, along with the signi
ficant risks of spillover to other countries, merit an exceptional level of acce
ss to IMF resources—equivalent to 3200 percent of Greece’s quota in the Fund. Th
is represents the largest access granted to a member country and it indicates th
e Fund’s high level of support for the program and for Greece.
“The success of Greece’s recovery program will depend, first and foremost, on th
e commitment of its government and people. While the initial implementation peri
od will be difficult, we are confident that the economy will emerge more dynamic
and robust from this crisis—and able to deliver the growth, jobs and prosperity
that the country needs for the future.
“Our collective effort will contribute to the stability of the euro, will benefi
t all of Europe and will help to promote global financial stability and a secure
recovery in the global economy.”
Greece, which became a member of the IMF on December 27, 1945, currently has an
IMF quota amounting to SDR 823 million.
For additional information on the IMF and Greece, see: http://www.imf.org/extern
al/country/GRC/index.htm

IMF EXTERNAL RELATIONS DEPARTMENT


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