Greek debt crisis: IMF head Christine Lagarde says Eurozone is "in strong position"

 
Lynsey Barber
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Christine Lagarde has made a statement about the weekends Greece talks (Source: Getty)

The head of the International Monetary Fund has expressed confidence in the Eurozone's ability to manage the ongoing Greek debt crisis.

Christine Lagarde said Europe is in "a strong position to respond to developments in a timely and effective manner, as needed" in a statement, following the Greek government's backing of a referendum on a new bailout deal.

The referendum announced by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras at the start of the weekend had caught European leaders by surprise, however, Lagarde outlined the IMF's willingness to continue its negotiations with Greece to avoid the country defaulting on its debt repayments.

Read more: Gretigue? Tsipras vents on Twitter

European leaders denied Greece an extension on its current bailout programme beyond 30 June, when the country is due to make a repayment billion-euro repayment to the IMF, until the referendum is held on 5 July.

The ECB said it will continue to to provide Greece with emergency funds but will cap the amount, putting pressure on Greek banks and raising concerns that the country will have to turn to capital controls in order to prevent outflows of cash.

Read more: Take enough cash to Greece, Government tells Brit tourists

"I have briefed the IMF Executive Board on the inconclusive outcome of recent discussions on Greece in Brussels. I shared my disappointment and underscored our commitment to continue to engage with the Greek authorities," said Lagarde.

“The coming days will clearly be important. I welcome the statements of the Eurogroup and the European Central Bank to make full use of all available instruments to preserve the integrity and stability of the euro area. These statements underscore that the euro area today is in a strong position to respond to developments in a timely and effective manner, as needed.

“The IMF also will continue to carefully monitor developments in Greece and other countries in the vicinity and stands ready to provide assistance as needed.

“I continue to believe that a balanced approach is required to help restore economic stability and growth in Greece, with appropriate structural and fiscal reforms supported by appropriate financing and debt sustainability measures. The IMF is prepared to continue to pursue that approach with the Greek authorities and our European partners.”

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