Madame Lagarde wants more adults in the room to negotiate a Greek settlement. Is she just being dismissive of the Greek government? It does not help find a compromise or solution to be cutting in public about the principle actors in the drama.
Or does she also have in mind those mysterious sources who are foolishly briefing that the Greek banks might have to close on Monday? All those who from positions of authority suggest capital controls or restrictions on Greek bank accounts must know they are fostering a run on the Greek banks.(I am publishing this at the week-end as most banks in Greece are normally closed then. I have no position of authority in the Eurozone anyway). Adults would know this does not help either Greece or the rest of the Eurozone. Responsible custodians of the Euro would see problems in Greek commercial banks as problems for the zone as a whole. After all, the European central Bank has already poured Euro 83 billion into supporting those banks. You would have thought the last thing they wanted was further withdrawals of deposits which simply mean the rest of the zone has to lend Greece yet more money through the ECB.
This blog has also advised the IMF to play no part in financing member governments of the Eurozone, pointing out that a Eurozone member cannot meet usual IMF criteria for loans. A Eurozone member state cannot devalue to become more competitive, and cannot print more money to repay loans. The IMF would not lend money to Scotland but would expect the UK to borrow the money Scotland needs, so why does it lend money to Greece when the Eurozone could borrow the money Greece needs if it wished to do so? How grown up has the approach of the IMF been?
The modern temptation for prominent politicians and senior officials to take to the media and negotiate in public on sensitive matters of finance and confidence makes it more difficult to stabilise troubled situations and to find a solution. How grown up is it to think that another round of public spending cuts will help the Greek economy recover, after falling by a massive 25% in incomes and output? The UK by agreement of all parties usually allows the deficit to rise when the economy is in deep recession. How grown up is to think pay and pension cuts and more redundancies in an economy with 25% unemployment will be acceptable to Greek people and therefore something the Greek government can sign up to?
My view is both the Greek government and the Eurozone bosses are wrong about how to solve the Greek economic crisis. The first step I would recommend is exit from the Euro and devaluation. Given that both sides refuse to do that, the Eurozone has to accept Greece needs more money to keep going, and Greece has to accept it needs to work with the agreement of its creditors. The complete absence of give and take on both sides is worrying and prolongs the agony and the damage. This is not how a single currency should be run. It confirms my view that EURO stands for European Unemployment and Recession Organisation.