IMF May Consider Greek Loan Changes After Visit Next Week

An International Monetary Fund team will start negotiations on potential changes to an international loan to Greece after a fact-finding team travels to Athens “early next week,” a fund spokesman said.

Next week’s mission, which includes officials from the European Central Bank and the European Commission, “will assess the recent economic developments and meet with the new authorities,” Gerry Rice, an IMF spokesman, told reporters in Washington today. He said he had no date for the follow-up negotiating mission.

“The objectives of the program as agreed remain the basis for those discussions,” Rice said. “If the new government has ideas on how those program objectives can be achieved, we’re open to those discussions.”

Greece has slipped behind budget-cutting targets that euro- area nations and the IMF imposed in exchange for 240 billion euros ($298 billion) in aid pledges in the past two years. Greece plans to push its creditors to extend fiscal deadlines under the country’s bailout program by at least two years.

“Our priority is to listen to the new government and to hear their views,” Rice said. The IMF estimates that the Greek authorities “can manage the budget for some period of time” without the next loan disbursement, according to the spokesman.

Separately, he said that Ukraine, where IMF disbursements have been frozen, needs to implement fiscal consolidation and makes changes to its energy and financial sectors first.

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