Christine Lagarde became the fifth senior figure among Greece’s creditors to throw cold water over the troubled country’s chances of a speedy bailout deal on Friday.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) managing director said on a visit to Brazil that the bailout deal with Greece “has to be a comprehensive approach, not a quick and dirty job,” according to Reuters.
She follows EU Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble and Chancellor Angela Merkel, as well as Bundesbank chief Jens Weidmann all of whom have made similarly sceptical comments today.
Aside from Merkel and Schaueble, the figures are from the IMF, European Central Bank and European Commission — Greece’s three international creditors. That doesn’t mean that the deal is impossible by any means. For example, European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker was a lot more positive in German business news magazine Wirtschafts Woche, insisting that Greece must remain in the eurozone.
But it does make the current insistence from Athens, that a deal will be stuck soon, as pretty unlikely. Four days have now passed since Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said a deal was coming within a week, and Lagarde, Merkel and Schaeuble particularly make it sound like these are not the sort of things that will be resolved by Monday.
The stumbling blocks to a deal still seem to be what they were a month ago — labour market reforms and Greece’s pension system, which its creditors still regard as too generous. Meaningful compromise on those issues will make a deal more likely, so that’s the main thing to keep an eye on now.