Court Rules Against Pension Cuts, IMF Nods at 5% VAT
July 1 -- Romania's Constitutional Court has struck down the
pension cuts connected to the International Monetary Fund's facility
to that country. On July 1 Inner City Press asked IMF Spokesperson
Atkinson for the IMF's reaction to the decision, and if the
government's move to boost the Value Added Tax from 19% to 24% would
be enough for the IMF.
earlier, Ms. Atkinson had responded to Inner City Press' question
about the Constitutional Court in this way, as transcribed by the IMF
have a question online, which is a bunch of questions, but on
Romania: 'The government’s measures are being challenged in the
Constitutional Court. What does the IMF think of the suit? What
impact might it have on the IMF facility for Romania?' And it’s
absolutely right that the fiscal adjustment measures, which are prior
actions for our program, have to be approved by the Constitutional
Court, and of course we respect that process. That’s an entirely
appropriate process. We don’t think that that will lead to any -- I
mean, that’s not something that we’re concerned about.”
so on July 1
Inner City Press asked, “the Constitutional Court has now rejected
the pension cuts connected to the IMF facility. What is the IMF's
reaction, since two weeks ago it was said that the IMF did not expect
Protest in Romania of austerity, IMF and VAT not shown
said, “I'm not sure about that.” But she'd said of the Court
review, “That's not something that we're concerned about,” a lack
of concern that can be equated with not expecting a negative court
on July 1, Ms.
Atkinson said “the Romanian authorities have identified other
measures... What we look at is an overall package, not specifying one
measure or another.” She noted that the IMF Board will consider
Romania on July 2. Watch this site.
* * *
Cuts Challenged in Court, IMF Says Not Concerned, Lead Nowhere
17 -- A day after Romania's opposition filed a
challenge to the government's
of public sector wages by 25%,
International Monetary Fund spokesperson Caroline Atkinson said, we
don't think it will lead to anything, it's not something we're
concerned about. Video here,
had asked, "What does the IMF think of the suit and what impact
might it have on the IMF's facility for Romania?" Ms. Atkinson
said this was "absolutely right, the fiscal adjustment measures
which are prior actions for our program, have to be approved by the
sound like review by the Court is routine -- or "entirely
appropriate," as Ms. Atkinson put it. But Reuters reported
the "government can start applying the austerity measures ahead
of any court judgment, but if declared unconstitutional they would
have to be revoked."
Romania austerity challenge, IMF doesn't think it
will lead anywhere
correct that the pending challenge in the Constitutional Court could
result in the austerity -- or "fiscal adjustment" --
measures being revoked, why does the IMF so blithely predict it will
lead to nothing, and say they are not concerned about it?
by saying, there is a question from Inner City Press online, "a
bunch of questions, but on Romania." She then never read out or
answered any of the other questions, about Hungary, Poland, Zimbabwe
and Kyrgyzstan. There was, however, another question about
Kyrgyzstan, the IMF's answer to which we will include in a
forthcoming wider piece about the bloodshed there. Stay tuned.
* * *
Says Wage Cuts Were Romania's Choice, IMF for Vulnerable
20 -- With Romania wracked by the most serious protests
since its 1989 revolution, Inner City Press on May 20 asked
International Monetary Fund spokesperson Caroline Atkinson if the IMF
would consider re-negotiating the 25% pay cut to public sector
employees portrayed by the government as a condition for receiving a
May 6 when Inner City Press asked
about Romania, Ms. Atkinson said there were negotiations going on.
On May 20, Ms. Atkinson's
lengthy answer denied IMF responsibility for the cuts, saying they
were choices of the government.
Protest in Romania, IMF says it's not to blame
Ms. Atkinson of the IMF said:
an opportunity to clarify that the IMF did not specify or
insist on any wage cuts with Romania... we did agree with the
Romanian government that some further fiscal tightening would be
needed in order to put their program back on track .. the goal is to
have sustainable public finances that will allow for a recovery and
there are of course different combinations of expenditure cuts and
to focus on the expenditure side in particular on
wage cuts. That was the government's decision. Of course there are no
easy options when there are budget cuts. We have been clear that we
want to protect the most vulnerable and to have measures that limit
the impact on society and can get the most ownership within society."
the tens of thousands protesting in Romania's streets. Watch this
* * *
Greek Fire, Dodges on Romania, Pakistan, Sri
Lanka and Rwanda
6 -- With the International Monetary Fund's deal with
the Greek government being followed, so far, by five deaths in
protests, the IMF's fortnightly press briefing on Thursday not
surprisingly focused on Greece. IMF spokesperson Caroline Atkinson
emphasized that the austerity moves were the decision of the
government, not the IMF. She promised a press availability by
Dominique Strauss-Kahn after the IMF board's meeting on Sunday, on
which phasing of the Fund's second largest program ever will be
decided and announced.
asked was met with surprise, and Ms. Atkinson answered
few of them. Inner City Press submitted four questions, only two of
which were allowed. Neither question was answered.
Pakistan, was Greece related in that experts have predicted violent
reactions. Inner City Press submitted this question:
Pakistan, experts say that the govt has not prepared the
public for the value added tax, that "the taxpayers... could
resort to agitation and may even close down markets." What does
the IMF say about VAT, the government's preparing of the people for
it, and possibility of more IMF related violence?"
Greek tie-in, to try to get an answer, Inner City Press submitted
this, which was read out:
if you are requiring that: in Romania, is IMF prepared to
lift the country's budget deficit cap? How is the IMF's approach to
Romania impacted by events in Greece?"
Atkinson said that since there are negotiations -- in fact, the IMF
mission is staying two extra days -- she would not comment. Then,
generically, she said that IMF decisions are always impacted by other
events, as well as being country specific. But of course!
Sri Lanka, Inner
City Press asked "is the IMF waiting for the so called mini
budget for the rest of 2010 before considering the next tranche, and
what does the IMF res rep [Koshy Mathai] mean by 'cutting inefficient
important for the IMF to spell out or define this last, but Ms.
Atkinson did not. Perhaps some later written response will arrive.
One was promised to the last of the questions which Inner City Press
submitted, which for some reason was mediated or edited by IMF staff.
Greece on fire, IMF not shown
there is another question coming through, although I will have to
answer it afterwards. Without attribution, she read out "On
Rwanda, what is the status of the IMF's consideration of a Policy
Support Instrument?" She then said that she did not know.
Kigali, IMF resident representative Dmitry Gershenson was quoted two
days ago as having agreed to the PSI. And in Sri Lanka, res rep Koshi
Mathai's statements remain unexplained.
come back to
Romania, the question Ms. Aktinson read out but would not answer,
Reuters has already quoted sources that the deficit budget cap will
be lifted. While the details may have to be worked out, wouldn't it
seem important, including to "support, or I mean fight,
contagion," to make clear that the IMF is at least temporarily
showing flexibility to Greece's neighbors? Watch this site.
for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters
footage, about civilian
in Sri Lanka.
Click here for Inner City
Press' March 27 UN debate
Click here for Inner City
Press March 12 UN (and AIG
Click here for Inner City
Press' Feb 26 UN debate
on Sri Lanka http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/17772?in=11:33&out=32:56
Click here for Inner City Press' Jan.
16, 2009 debate about Gaza
Click here for Inner City Press'
review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate
Click here for Inner
City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger
Click here from Inner City Press'
December 12 debate on UN double standards
Click here for Inner
City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics
and this October 17 debate, on
Security Council and Obama and the UN.
* * *
usually also available through Google
News and on Lexis-Nexis.
for a Reuters
AlertNet piece by this correspondent
about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click
for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali
Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an
undefined trust fund. Video
UN, NY 10017
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some are available
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