IMF chief begs for more cash to help Europe

Tim Wallace
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GEORGE Osborne last night was refusing to meet International Monetary Fund (IMF) demands to commit more money to bailing out troubled countries, including those in the Eurozone.

IMF chief Christine Lagarde began the group’s spring conference with an appeal for cash, warning finance ministers that the Eurozone crisis is still very much a threat to global economic stability, and that more pledges of money would aid the economic recovery globally.

“That is the reason why, as part of the outcome of these meetings, we expect our firepower to be significantly increased,” she said.

Around $320bn (£199.4bn) of Lagarde’s $400bn target has been promised by a group of countries from the Eurozone, as well as Japan, Switzerland and Poland.

However, the UK maintained that it is not prepared to offer more cash unless certain specific criteria are met.

“The UK is a longstanding supporter of the IMF,” said a Treasury spokesman.

“However, we have been clear that there are strict conditions under which we would agree to an increase in resources. That’s why any deal on IMF resources has to be done at the global level.”

Osborne has previously said IMF funds should not be specifically earmarked for bailing out the Eurozone, and must instead be available for any troubled nation.

Lagarde praised many of the steps taken by the Eurozone so far, particularly moves towards a fiscal compact to restrain future budget deficits, and the “significant involvement” of the European Central Bank, which pumped European banks full of €1 trillion (£818bn) in cheap cash in December and February to ease their liquidity problems.