The Guardian– The International Monetary Fund expects that a possible Greek default on its bailout will coincide with the UK’s referendum on membership of the European Union, according to a leaked transcript.
WikiLeaks said it had obtained details of a discussion last month between the top two IMF officials in charge of managing the Greek debt crisis – Poul Thomsen, the head of the IMF’s European department, and Delia Velculescu, the IMF mission chief for Greece.
The whistleblowing organisation said the discussion showed that the IMF was planning to tell Germany it will abandon the troika (composed of the IMF, the European commission and the European Central Bank) if the IMF and the commission fail to reach an agreement on Greek debt relief.
The IMF officials say that a threat of an imminent financial catastrophe was needed to force other players into accepting its measures such as cutting Greek pensions and working conditions, but that the UK referendum on 23 June will paralyse EU decision-making at a critical moment, according to the records.
The UK referendum was said to add a complication that needed to be negotiated around – delaying a possible “moment of truth” until after the June vote.
Greek finance minister Euclid Tsakalotos has accused the IMF of imposing draconian measures, including on pension reform.
The transcript quotes Velculescu as saying: “What is interesting though is that [Greece] did give in … they did give a little bit on both the income tax reform and on the … both on the tax credit and the supplementary pensions”.
Thomsen’s view was that the Greeks “are not even getting close [to coming] around to accept our views”.
Velculescu argued that “if [the Greek government] get pressured enough, they would … But they don’t have any incentive and they know that the commission is willing to compromise, so that is the problem.”
WikiLeaks said that in the meeting Velculescu revealed that the IMF is strategising about whether it should release its updated report on the crisis.