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IMF mea culpa too late for hard-hit Greeks

Thursday, June 06, 2013 - 02:02

June 6 - Greeks reacted with a mix of vindication and outrage at the International Monetary Fund's admission it erred in its handling of the country's bailout. Edward Baran reports.

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They're struggling to cope with the highest unemployment in Europe Now Greece has been told the IMF made a mistake in the way it handled the country's bailout. The Fund's admitted it LOWERED its normal standards of debt sustainability. And has confessed its projections for the Greek economy were overly optimistic. SOUNDBITE, Vassilis, unemployed man, saying (Greek): "They are making complete fools of us - they're laughing in our faces. Even I saw this coming before the first bailout, that it would destroy our economy, society and the country, so they, who are so educated, must have known it." SOUNDBITE, Yannis Zoupis, temp worker, saying (Greek); "This is unfair for everyone, for all the youth who are unemployed , but nothing will come of this now - what's done is done." A 30 billion euro bailout was agreed in 2010. IG Indexs Brenda Kelly says the IMF had little choice but to agree with its loan partners. SOUNDBITE, Brenda Kelly, IG Index, saying (English); "It may not have been the best decision at the time but I think it was probably the decision they had to make at the time. It's good to know that they're able to produce a mea culpa when needed but I am not sure how positive it is for the markets or if it was even worthwhile doing." Greeks have seen their incomes plunge by about a third since the debt crisis erupted in 2009. The unemployment rate hit nearly 27 per cent on Thursday and suicide rates have soared. But some say the IMF doesn't emerge well from its admission of guilt . SOUNDBITE, Brenda Kelly, IG Index, saying (English); "I think it has discredited themselves despite the fact that they seem to be holding their hands up and owning up to it but from a longer term perspective and from a professional perspective I am not so sure it was the right thing to do." 'Greece was sacrificed in order to save Europe' was the verdict of one Greek newspaper. The admission could also begin to heal the humiliation Greeks felt at being portrayed as lazy and living off the largesse of hard-working Northern Europeans But many will see it as scant comfort for an economy and countless lives in ruins.

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IMF mea culpa too late for hard-hit Greeks

Thursday, June 06, 2013 - 02:02