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EU's Olli Rehn lashes out at IMF criticism of Greek bailout

June 7, 2013 at 3:05 PM   |   Comments

BRUSSELS, June 7 (UPI) -- The European Commission economic chief managing Greece's bailouts said Friday International Monetary Fund criticism of the rescue was not "fair."

Olli Rehn, speaking during an economic conference in Helsinki, Norway, compared the IMF critical report of its and the EU's handling of the first bailout to Greece in 2010 with violating the "in together, out together" principle developed in the Balkans war in the 1990s, the Financial Times reported.

"I don't think it's fair and just for the IMF to wash its hands and throw the dirty water on the Europeans," Rehn said.

The IMF report issued Wednesday said a restructuring of Greek debt should have occurred early in 2011 when it became evident the bailout program was off-track, but officials blocked such a move and the restructuring didn't go into effect until February 2012.

The European Union Thursday rejected the IMF criticism, saying policymakers "fundamentally disagree" with the IMF argument that an upfront debt restructuring in 2010 would have been preferred, noting that the fund's report disregarded how intertwined the eurozone is.

Greece imposed drastic austerity measures to address its economic woes. Eurozone leaders are still arguing how to help the country cope with its debt.

Rehn told the Times IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde agreed to the first Greek bailout as French finance minister in 2010 but resisted any debt restructuring during her tenure under former French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

"I do not recall Dominique Strauss-Kahn [Lagarde's IMF predecessor] calling for an early restructuring of Greek debt but I do remember Christine Lagarde opposing it," Rehn told the newspaper.

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