Tsipras blasts IMF ‘stalling tactics’

epa05193766 Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (L) arriving at the political meeting, chaired by the Greek President after the Greek Prime Minister's request, to inform the parties of the opposition on the latest developments and the government?s position on the thorny issue of the migration flow, in Athens, Greece, 04 March 2016.  EPA/ALEXANDROS BELTES

Athens / AFP

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Sunday said the IMF was employing “stalling tactics” and “arbitrary” estimates to hold up a reforms review crucial to the country’s economic
The leftist PM said the Washington-based global lender was bent on counter-productive cuts that failed to take into account the improved performance of Greece’s economy.
“The review will be completed soon in spite of the IMF’s stalling tactics,” Tsipras told his party’s central committee.
“For the first time, there is substantial convergence… between the Greek side and European institutions,” he said.
Greece and the EU now see eye to eye on the pace of reforms, the state of the 2016 budget and fiscal requirements to 2018, he said.
In contrast, the International Monetary Fund had “unrealistic expectations” “unrevised and erroneous calculations,” Tsipras said.
The Greek economy in 2015 saw output fall by just 0.2 percent, after an August forecast of a drop of up to 2.0 percent, the government says.
Athens also closed the year with a small primary surplus instead of an expected primary deficit, Tsipras said.
“Numbers are numbers…this is not a technocratic disagreement, it is a political disagreement,” the PM said.
Greece’s international creditors — the EU, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund — completed a first phase of the review nearly a month ago, but there has been little progress since.
Athens is hoping that a meeting of the 19-nation eurozone on Monday will authorise senior EU-IMF auditors to return later in the week.
Athens is eager to complete the reforms review to unlock debt relief promised by its European peers.
But the IMF’s European zone head last month warned against “over-optimistic assumptions (which) will soon cause fears (of a Greek euro exit) to resurface once again and stifle the investment climate.”
A major sticking point is a pension reform planned by Tsipras’ leftist government which the IMF has found insufficient.

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