IMF help for Greece would be limited


Steve Chiotakis: There are no big official celebrations for Greek Independence Day today. The country's financial mess put an end to that. And as European leaders meet for a high-stakes economic summit, Greece is likely to come up in a big way. As Marketplace Europe correspondent Stephen Beard reports, the debate over a European bailout centers on the International Monetary Fund.

Stephen Beard: IMF help is anathema to some European countries, especially France. For the French, it's akin to begging the U.S. to come and clean up the mess in Europe's backyard. But the Germans want outside help. It would save their taxpayers a bundle.

It now looks as if the Germans will get their way, Analysts here say Greece is now likely to request IMF aid. But, says Andrew Hilton of the CSFI think tank, that aid will be limited under IMF rules to less than $20 billion. And yet Greece needs to borrow more than three times as much this year:

Andrew Hilton: It's rather like a guy lying in the desert dying of thirst and you give him a bottle of whisky and say: "Drink it." Well it gets you over the short-term hump, but it may create a longer-term problem.

He says Greece is broke. It can't afford to repay what it's borrowed. It will have to renegotiate its debt -- and if all else fails, default.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

About the author

Stephen Beard is the London Bureau Chief, providing daily coverage of Europe’s business and economic developments for the entire Marketplace portfolio.


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