Comments made by Greece’s former representative to the International Monetary Fund, Panayiotis Roumeliotis, to the New York Times, according to which the IMF knew from the outset that the bailout programs extended to Greece were unenforceable, have prompted an angry response from the Fund and from former Prime Minister George Papandreou, whose Socialist government signed Greece’s first debt deal with foreign creditors. An IMF spokesperson told Skai that during Fund board meetings on the subject of Greece, Roumeliotis had never voiced any objections regarding the policies put forward. On the contrary, noted the IMF representative, as Greece’s envoy he had given his full support.
Meanwhile an associate of Papandreou conveyed the anger of the former premier at Roumeliotis, who has been a non-executive vice chairman of Piraeus Bank since last January. “Recently we have watched with patience and self-restraint as Panayiotis Roumeliotis’s memory seems to be flooding back every time he makes a public statement,” Papandreou’s associate said. The statement added that, in view of Roumeliotis’s former position as the country’s representative to the IMF, it is unclear why he did not brief Greek government officials that the economic program was unenforceable, if that was his impression, or why he did not give up his post. “Why did he not raise the issue with officials at the Fund in order to get the necessary answers and subsequently inform the country’s leadership? Why did he not resign?” the statement said. “How come his memory came back after he left the IMF and found a job in the private sector?”
In comments to the Times published last Sunday, Roumeliotis said, “We knew at the Fund from the very beginning that this program was impossible to be implemented because we didn’t have any -- any -- successful example.” He added that “the argument that is used usually by the troika in order to criticize Greece -- and to ignore their mistakes -- is that the deep recession is because of the non-implementation of the structural reforms.”