Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Yanis Varoufakis, Minister of Finance for Greece, have had an informal discussion on the Greek government’s reform program. “Effective cooperation is in everyone’s interest. We noted that continuing uncertainty is not in Greece’s interest,” Lagarde stressed after Varoufakis affirmed Greece intends “to meet all obligations to all its creditors, ad infinitum”, including a 450 million euros payment to the IMF due on April 9, 2015. The unscheduled meeting took place amid a quick rise in tensions after Greek officials said they’d rather pay public servants’ salaries than the IMF in case of a default.
Such affirmations also fueled some discontent in Greece where a growing number of private sector workers’ considered that now is the public sector’s turn to contribute more to the country’s rescue plan. “Government workers have enjoyed an almost scandalous immunity from the barbarous cutbacks that are bleeding the country white, this must change,” Tassos Symeonides, an academic advisor with the Athens-based RIEAS, wrote. Uncertainty is not in Greece’s interest, Lagarde repeated, but is it in IMF’s interest? Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will visit Russia on April 8, 2015; and China’s building her own alternative development fund. It seems there’s more at stake than Greece’s sole interest.