The IMF's "point man" in the 110-billion-euro EC-ECB-IMF bailout for Greece on Friday reiterated that the closely watched economic adjustment and reform programme being implemented in the east Mediterranean nation is going "better than most think", as many goals have already been achieved. Speaking only hours after the Greek government said it successfully concluded talks in Athens with representatives of the EC-ECB-IMF "troika" over approval of the fifth tranche of the bailout, Poul Thomsen nevertheless added that much remains to be done
Thomsen, the International Monetary Fund's deputy director of its European department and the IMF mission chief for Greece, underlined that a decisive effort is now needed by the Greek government to combat pervasive tax evasion in the country.
The high-profile IMF executive spoke at a panel discussion entitled "The Greek Economy After One Year of Reform: Progress and Challenges", an initiative of the Hellenic Society Prometheus, whichw was hosted by the St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Bethesda, Md.
In other statements, Thomsen said the Memorandum signed one year ago with the Greek government is now changing, as conditions have changed, while he emphasised that similar restructuring programmes often experience problems during their implementation. "... they are overcome though when there is devotion to the targets," he added.
More ominously, he emphasised that without the EC-ECB-IMF support package Greece would have collapsed, economically.
Other speakers at the event included Irene Ninetta Kyriakopoulos, a professor at the National Defense University; Thanos Catsambas, a former assistant director of the fiscal affairs department at the IMF, as well as moderator Evangelos Calamitsis, a former director of the IMF's African department.