Here we go again.
The International Monetary Fund warned on Tuesday that Greece once again risks a eurozone exit amid stalled bailout talks, sending the clearest signal yet the emergency lender isn’t likely to soon rejoin Europe’s failed efforts to fix the debt-weary nation.
Fund officials said Athens and its European creditors must agree to much deeper economic overhauls and substantial debt relief before the fund considers contributing another cent.
Two fund documents made public Tuesday reveal deep-seated skepticism that Europe’s latest financing program can fix the broken economy. Both the IMF’s annual review of Greece’s economy and a scathing assessment of its own second bailout to the deeply ailing economy underscore a third fund package is unlikely soon.
Not to worry, Greece is on the case, looking for a messenger or two to shoot, including, it seems, the country’s first independent head of statistics.
The statistician, Andreas Georgiou, moved from the U.S. to become Greece’s first independent head of statistics in 2010. The European Union certified he subsequently fixed the omissions and reported the deficit in full. On the contrary, Mr. Georgiou’s foes claim, he manipulated the deficit figures as part of a plot to force severe austerity on Greece under the 2010 bailout “Memorandum” imposed by the EU and International Monetary Fund.
Four times in four years, Greek investigators or prosecutors have concluded that Mr. Georgiou merely applied EU accounting rules and committed no crime. Senior politicians and judges have nonetheless kept the accusations alive. He could face five trials, and life imprisonment in one case.
Throughout Greece’s debt crisis—history’s biggest sovereign bailout and the deepest developed-country depression since the 1930s—much of the governing class has denied responsibility and instead fallen back on conspiracy theories.
Meanwhile this graph shows what’s happening to the price of two-year Greek government bonds
And then there’s Italy….