Mon, Sep 10, 2012 - Page 15 News List

IMF wants role in eurozone debt-crisis plan

SETTING IT UP:IMF head Christine Lagarde says the fund is keen to be part of a solution for Europe’s debt problems, but need to be involved in designing plans

Reuters, VLADIVOSTOK, Russia

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde smiles during a press conference after the APEC summit in Russia’s far eastern port city of Vladivostok yesterday.

Photo: AFP

The IMF is interested in a role in the design and monitoring of the European Central Bank’s (ECB) plan to staunch the eurozone debt crisis with unlimited bond purchases, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said yesterday.

Under the bond-buying plan, devised by ECB head Mario Draghi, the central bank would stand ready to buy any amounts of sovereign debt with maturities of up to three years in return for a bailout deal with tight strings attached.

“We shall certainly be ready to help and to assist in the design and monitoring of eventual programs of all conditionalities that would be part of the solution,” Lagarde told reporters in the Russian port city of Vladivostok after the APEC regional summit.

The exact scale and nature of the IMF’s involvement in the bond-buying plan — including whether it might deploy its balance sheet — is not yet clear.

However, Lagarde said that she had already described the policy steps taken by Spain and Italy — the large eurozone countries facing the most acute debt challenges — as “strong.”

That comment appeared to point to IMF support for both the Draghi plan and efforts already undertaken by debt-laden eurozone states to put their finances on a sustainable long-term footing.

“The ECB said itself that it welcomed highly the involvement of the IMF. We are keen to help,” Lagarde said.

“Clearly, when we get involved, we want to be involved both in the design and the monitoring of programs. We don’t particularly like to do monitoring without having participated actively in the design,” she added.

In a statement issued after the annual APEC summit, Lagarde said that European policy steps “pave the way forward.”

“The priority is now coordinated implementation,” she said in the statement.

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