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Will Trump Weigh In on Greek Crisis?

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Monday, 24 Apr 2017 12:59 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Seven years after Greece began receiving loans from three international lenders and at a point when Greece’s debt has now reached 323 billion euros, discussion of the financial crisis that grips the Aegean nation was unusually subdued at the spring meeting of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank April 20-23.

“I have nothing to say about the Greek crisis,” Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank, told me Saturday as he arrived at the IMF.

In opening remarks at her briefing for reporters earlier that day, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde was conspicuous by her failure to make any mention the Greek debt crisis.

The IMF and European Central Bank are two of the members of the troika — the three creditors who provided loans to keep the Greek economy afloat for the past seven years. (The third creditor is the Eurogroup, the 19 members of the Eurozone that exercise control over the Euro currency.)

The conclusion of participants at the conclave who spoke to me was that the world financial community was waiting for the Trump administration to spell out precisely how the U.S. would now be dealing with the IMF — the lone conduit for U.S. tax dollars to fund the Greek bailout.

As a candidate last year, President Trump frequently voiced skepticism about spending tax dollars on international organizations such as the IMF. In the Trump administration’s budget draft earlier this year, there are proposed cuts in U.N.-related organizations and the World Bank, but, interestingly, not the IMF.

In an interview with the Financial Times during the weekend meeting, Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin said that the Greek crisis “is primarily a European issue, although it is something we are monitoring because it is important to the world economy and world financial markets.”

For its part, Greece is waiting for details to follow.

“It is important that the IMF and the creditors reach an honorable compromise ensuring the sustainability of the Greek debt,” Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos told me. “We are waiting to see what the new administration in the U.S. thinks. We don’t want this to drag on.”

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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Seven years after Greece began receiving loans from three international lenders and at a point when Greece’s debt has now reached 323 billion euros, discussion of the financial crisis as centered around President Trump.
greek, trump, lagarde
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2017-59-24
Monday, 24 Apr 2017 12:59 PM
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