Greek PM urges IMF to decide on bailout participation by end of year

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras gives a speech during an Economy conference, in Lagonisi southeast of Athens, on Thursday, June 22, 2016. Greece's government wants to ease its budgetary saving commitments after its current multi-billion euro bailout ends in 2018, a senior official says.(AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris) / Washington Post

Reuters – The International Monetary Fund should decide whether it will fund Greece’s current bailout programme by the end of the year and help Greece conclude a key bailout review on time, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Sunday.

“We can live with or without the IMF presence,” Tsipras said in a press briefing at a trade fair in Thessaloniki. “What we cannot do is live with the IMF setting one foot in and leaving one foot out.”

The end of the year would be a “reasonable timeframe” for the Fund to decide and  Athens intends to wrap up its next bailout review quickly, PM Tsipras said, adding that Greece would be financially independent in 2018.

Greece exceeded its goal for a primary budget surplus – which excludes debt servicing – in 2015 and 2016.

Asked about French President Emmanuel Macron’s call for a system to screen investments in strategic sectors from non-EU countries, the PM said Athens wanted to attract investments both from Europe and from outside the block.