(Reuters) – Following are key quotes from global financial leaders on the fourth day of talks around the IMF’s annual spring meetings.
FRENCH ECONOMY MINISTER CHRISTINE LAGARDE
ON CANADIAN COMMENTS THE DEAL WOULD BE NEED TO BE BIGGER
“You have to remember that the package is a three-year package. The commitment for 30 billion euros made by Eurogroup is just for the first year. So now we are negotiating.”
GREEK FINANCE MINISTER GEORGE PAPACONSTANTINOU
“It (the EU-IMF aid package) involves a comprehensive three year economic program and financing conditions
“We are very confident that these negotiations… will be concluded rather soon. They are going well.”
“We are therefore advancing fast in these (negotiations) … we are all confident that this will be done in time and we will be able to continue to finance Greek public debt without any problem.
ASKED IF GREECE SHOULD HAVE GONE STRAIGHT TO THE IMF:
“There was never a possibility or an option on our side to go separately to the IMF. Greece is a member of the euro zone.”
“I want to categorically state that any notion of restructuring is off the table.”
ASKED ABOUT INVESTORS BETTING ON DEFAULT:
“To investors, I know that some of you have been betting certain ways. All I can say is that they will lose your shirts.”
ON LEAVING THE EURO ZONE:
“It is a scenario that has absolutely no basis to reality. Greece is a member of the euro zone, will always remain a member of the euro zone, will always remain within the European Union.”
“I think early May is a good ballpark figure. I don’t want to give a particular date. We all know that these negotiations take weeks. We’re working very fast as we talk here — the team of EU, ECB and the IMF and Greece is working with our collaborators on technical aspects. So it is very clear that we want to conclude this as soon as possible.”
ASKED ABOUT OPPOSITION IN GERMANY TO AID:
“They are completely on board on the need for a framework of conditionality and fully supportive of a decision that Germany has co-signed at the level of heads of state and government and at the Euro group level.”
ASKED ABOUT OTHER WAYS OF RAISING FUNDS:
“There are many options that will allow us to gain by reducing the stake in public companies. The Greek state has an enormous number of real estate assets, over hundreds of billions. The proper exploitation, in the good sense of the word, will allow us to raise funds and also release resources into the private sector.
IMF MANAGING DIRECTOR DOMINIQUE STRAUSS-KAHN
On Greece: “I am impressed with the Greek authorities’ determination to take the actions necessary to put their economy back on track.
“Since we received the request for financial support last Friday, our discussions with the authorities have accelerated. The IMF, the European partners, and everyone involved in the financing effort recognizes the need for speed. I am confident that we will conclude discussions in time to meet Greece’s needs.
“We are all aware of the seriousness of the situation and the courageous efforts being made by the Greek people.”
BANK OF CANADA GOVERNOR MARK CARNEY
On global imbalances:
“As in many deep issues, the first sign of progress is recognizing you have a problem, and I would say that the discussion around the table recognized that we have a problem.
“The add-up looks pretty good … but it wasn’t a credible add-up.
“Progress was captured in a shared recognition of the problem, a shared recognition of the inconsistency of the various policies. In some respects we’re a little ahead of the game. The (Canadian) government wanted to get there in Toronto. We got there a little sooner, but there’s a lot of work to be done at this stage.
On deficits, exit strategies:
“What we’re seeing with Greece, and we’ve been seeing it in the last few weeks, are the indications the limits of fiscal stimulus depend importantly on the initial conditions countries had when they embarked on programs.
“There are substantial fiscal consolidations that are required in a very, very large number of countries. I mean we’ve seen war-like spending in peace time, and its going to take concerted effort over a number of years to bring budgets back to a sustainable level.”
“Anyone who sits and looks at what happened and says ‘Well, that wasn’t a great recession,’ hasn’t appreciated the scale of what was done to ensure an outcome that wasn’t as extreme as before, both on the fiscal and the monetary side … and particularly on the fiscal side hasn’t thought through or appreciated the scale of what will be required to adjust fiscal back to normal.”