In the Guardian, Larry Elliott, Phillip Inman and Helena Smith round up the IMF’s self-criticisms over the handling of the bailout package imposed on Greece:
In an assessment of the rescue conducted jointly with the European Central Bank (ECB) and the European commission, the IMF said it had been forced to override its normal rules for providing financial assistance in order to put money into Greece.
Fund officials had severe doubts about whether Greece’s debt would be sustainable even after the first bailout was provided in May 2010 and only agreed to the plan because of fears of contagion.
While it succeeded in keeping Greece in the eurozone, the report admitted the bailout included notable failures.
“Market confidence was not restored, the banking system lost 30% of its deposits and the economy encountered a much deeper than expected recession with exceptionally high unemployment.”
In Athens, officials reacted with barely disguised glee to the report, saying it confirmed that the price exacted for the €110bn (£93bn) emergency package was too high for a country beset by massive debts, tax evasion and a large black economy.”
Under the weight of such measures — applied across the board and hitting the poorest hardest — the economy, they said, was always bound to dive into an economic death spiral.