Figaro: France will accept the IMF for Greek bailout
A leading French daily is now reporting that the French are moving toward the German position on the Greek sovereign debt crisis. France may be willing to accept a role for the IMF, if it comes to this.
The change in position comes a day before the EU leaders meet and suggests that an accord may be reached regarding how best to deal with Greece’s potential funding difficulties.
My translation of the Figaro article reads:
France is ready to let the IMF into the euro area to provide financial assistance to Greece.
This is a major concession by Paris to Berlin that gives Angela Merkel’s plan the green light for European support for Athens tomorrow on Thursday in Brussels. Never since the birth of the single currency has the International Monetary Fund, headquartered in Washington, acted as lender of last resort in a country within the eurozone. "This is not desirable" Jean-Claude Trichet, President of the European Central Bank (ECB) said recently. "Using the IMF to help Greece would be a sign of weakness," Patrick Devedjian, economic recovery minister, said.
France, which traditionally sees the IMF as an "agent of the U.S. Treasury" would have preferred a "100% European" solution to the crisis in Greece. The plan approved by the Eurogroup this past 15 March, therefore, did not appeal to the IMF. However, the intransigence of Berlin, whose position has hardened in recent days, requires Paris to relent.
In addition to the IMF, France would be prepared to accept a strengthening of European budgetary discipline by activating the articles of the Treaty of Lisbon providing for the abolition of voting rights for countries not obeying the common budget rules, or even the expulsion of a Member State. Many of the concessions were already expressed in the German press yesterday, [demonstrating] that Angela Merkel had succeeded in imposing her views on the leaders of the eurozone.
Grèce: la France accepte l’intervention du FMI – Le Figaro