IMF should stay out of this Greek tragedy
Yesterday, in a monumentally cynical act of legerdemain, Europe’s ruling class hailed the latest Athens bailout – this time worth a mere £110billion – as a deal to ‘secure Greece’s future in the euro’.
Preposterously, even George Osborne joined in, saying it was ‘good for Britain’ – which will contribute, via the IMF, £1billion – and a ‘really significant step’ towards resolving the eurozone crisis.
If only… For, even as the politicians recited their words, a leaked ‘strictly confidential’ document, prepared for Brussels officials, revealed that, in reality, the rescue programme was way off track, and highly unlikely to succeed.
Firstly, there are grave doubts whether the Greek people – who are already rioting in the streets, have mass unemployment and who bitterly resent having their budget dictated by Brussels – will accept further swingeing cuts.
And, even if the austerity programme is implemented, how is a devastated Greek economy, which has shrunk by 7 per cent in the past year, supposed to achieve the growth required to have even a chance of long-term survival, while it remains inside the strait-jacket of the euro?
In truth, the eurocrats know Greece is probably doomed, but fear that – when it defaults on its debts – the contagion will spread across the continent, killing the euro and crushing their dream of full economic and political union.
Thus, they are prepared to ignore all the evidence and keep throwing their own good money after bad in order to buy more time to try to find an almost certainly non-existent miracle cure.
The scandal, however, is that – given the IMF is expected to contribute up to £20billion to the bailout, including the £1billion from Britain – it is not just their money they are wasting: it’s ours.
The simple fact is that the IMF should not even be involved. Its role is to help countries that lack the economic means to survive – not to prop up a Franco-German ideology.