Greek and French politicians are making political capital out of remarks made by the IMF chief Christine Lagarde. Her comments to a newspaper concerning Greek laziness in paying taxes caused such an outcry she has been forced to back-track.
Socialist leader Evangelos Venizelos said:
“With regards to the tone of Ms. Lagarde, I had said the tone was unacceptable, offensive. There was a lot of reaction, even on the internet, and Ms. Lagarde was compelled to revise her remarks. I am glad that she has done this because it shows that she has taken into account the reaction of a proud country and a proud people.”
While Greece’s far-left leader has said her insensitivity just reinforces his opposition to tough conditions connected to Greece’s IMF/EU bailout package, France’s far-left has said Lagarde should resign.
“How can she talk like this to the Greeks,” demanded Left-Front leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon.
“What does this woman know about the Greek situation? Why doesn’t she say it’s Greek ship owners and capitalists who should pay their taxes when they don’t – the common people do pay . Those were outrageous words and, from my point of view, if there were any political justice, she should resign.”
Christine Lagarde’s appointment as IMF chief was achieved with the backing of the former centre-right President Nicolas Sarkozy. With France’s socialists now in the ascent, analysts say her position is suddenly looking vulnerable.