Opinion

Chrystia Freeland

Interview with Christine Lagarde at the IMF

Chrystia Freeland
Jan 18, 2013 16:27 UTC

Managing Director of the IMF Christine Lagarde sat down for an interview with Chrystia Freeland yesterday, January 17th, following the IMF’s New Year Press Briefing.

CHRYSTIA FREELAND:

Thank you for joining me, Madame Lagarde.

CHRISTINE LAGARDE:

My pleasure.

CHRYSTIA FREELAND:

One of your themes as we enter 2013 is that financial reform must continue.  And you have just said that you’re concerned, you see a waning commitment to financial reform.  What do you see going on?

CHRISTINE LAGARDE:

I see a lot of pressure coming out of the industry.  Which is clearly part of their job.  They will naturally lobby to support more flexible, more accommodating regulations.  I think, you know, the financial sector is so particular and so special because of the confidence factor associated with it and the role played by the authorities sometimes in order to support that sector, that it warrants stronger regulations.

And, you know, stronger buffers against potential risks and regular tests of their capacity to resist shocks.  So my– our take is that the financial regulation has to proceed, has to be completed.  And that the appropriate buffers, whether it’s by way of liquidity ratio, whether it’s by way of capital ratio for banks, or whether it’s by way of appropriate scope of regulations, for instance the shadow banking, has to proceed.

CHRYSTIA FREELAND:

Something that we are hearing a lot from the banks is that actually now is the wrong time to be tightening finan–

The euro zone, slow-motion crashes and Latvia

Chrystia Freeland
Jun 7, 2012 21:30 UTC

Spending time with top European policymakers at the moment is scary and slightly nauseating, like the final, slow-motion moments before a car accident, when you can see precisely both how you will probably crash and what it would take, if only you could force your paralyzed muscles into action, to swerve to safety.

That’s why Christine Lagarde, the formidable French chief of the International Monetary Fund, told me this week that she wants to lock Europe’s dithering leaders in a room and leave them there until they figure things out.

“If I was able to do one thing, I would lock them in a room, take the key and let them come up with a comprehensive plan,” Lagarde said, when I asked what her fantasy scenario was for Europe. “I’m sure they can make it. I know the fundamentals are solid. The numbers on an aggregate basis are good. And, as I said, we have to take the key because they cannot escape unless and until they’ve firmed up the plan. But they can do it.”

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