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Greek reform proposals not enough
25 May 2015 20:08
The budget reforms that Greece has proposed are not enough to ensure a surplus this year, the IMF's chief economist Olivier Blanchard has told a French financial newspaper Les Echos.
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Greece's radical-left government has been locked in tortuous negotiations with the IMF, the European Union and the European Central Bank for the past four months in a bid to unlock €7.2 billion in bailout cash.
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Greece was supposed to have a 3% budget surplus this year, but that now looks out of reach, Mr Blanchard said.
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"Given the latest estimations show a substantial budget deficit for the time being, credible measures are needed to transform this into a surplus and maintain a surplus in the future," he said.
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"Seeing what has been put forward so far, we are still quite far off."
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The IMF "is flexible on what Athens needs to do, providing a coherent programme is presented in the end", Blanchard was quoted as saying in an interview on the paper's website.
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He said he believed Greece still had structural problems, saying "the pensions system is often too generous and there are still too many civil servants".
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"There is a need to look at what structural measures are essential to guarantee sustained medium-term growth."
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Mr Blanchard, a Frenchman, said if Greece failed to find a solution with its creditors, then several scenarios were possible, including an exit from the euro, but "everyone hopes to avoid them".
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