An iMFdirect blog post by Olivier Blanchard outlines the IMF’s perspective on the standoff between Greece and her official creditors. According to Blanchard, last week’s offer extended to Greece is realistic. On the part of the Greek government, it requires
truly credible measures to reach the lower target budget surplus … [and] … commitment to the more limited set of reforms.
On the part of the creditors, it requires
significant additional financing, and … debt relief sufficient to maintain debt sustainability. … debt relief can be achieved through a long rescheduling of debt payments at low interest rates. Any further decrease in the primary surplus target, now or later, would probably require, however, haircuts.
Blanchard also explains why the IMF deems pension cuts unavoidable:
Pensions and wages account for about 75% of primary spending; the other 25% have already been cut to the bone. Pension expenditures account for over 16% of GDP, and transfers from the budget to the pension system are close to 10% of GDP. We believe a reduction of pension expenditures of 1% of GDP (out of 16%) is needed, and that it can be done while protecting the poorest pensioners.
Blanchard recalls the 2012 agreement between Greece and her creditors:
Greece was to generate enough of a primary surplus to limit its indebtedness. It also agreed to a number of reforms which should lead to higher growth. In consideration, and subject to Greek implementation of the program, European creditors were to provide the needed financing, and provide debt relief if debt exceeded 120% by the end of the decade.
How will European governments, parliaments and taxpayers interpret the proviso “In consideration, and subject to Greek implementation of the program”?