Sunday, 10 July 2011

Greek crisis looms large for Lagarde

Greek crisis looms large for Lagarde

Paris/Beijing: Christine Lagarde begins her five-year term as Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund on July 5, and will find herself immediately immersed in efforts to head off a Greek debt default that could spark an international crisis.

She takes up her new post, following the resignation of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who is facing sexual assault charges in New York.

Ms. Lagarde must move fast on the Greek debt crisis and to open the IMF up to emerging countries, press comment on her appointment to head the fund said on Wednesday.

Newspapers warned that Ms. Lagarde must satisfy aspirations by emerging countries to obtain an increased role within the International Monetary Fund and assuage concerns that she might favour Europe. “The name is correct, the method is not,” Italian business newspaper Il Sole-24 Ore said on its front page, commenting that Europe did not deserve the post owing to its “incapacity” in handling the Greek crisis. In Japan, the Nikkei newspaper said “emerging nations were seen promising to give her support on conditions that they significantly gain influence” in IMF affairs. Reports also widely lauded the IMF for putting a woman in the top job for the first time.

Meanwhile, China voiced its support for Ms. Lagarde on Wednesday, and called for reforms at the global agency to give emerging-market economies a bigger voice. The Chinese central bank said in a short statement that the country hoped the International Monetary Fund would play a positive role in promoting global financial stability.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso hailed the next IMF chief as an “excellent choice”. — Agencies.

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