Opinion

Paul Taylor

Egypt under IMF spotlight as loan talks resume

Paul Taylor
Apr 3, 2013 16:07 UTC

CAIRO, April 3 (Reuters) – An International Monetary Fund
(IMF) team resumed long delayed negotiations with Egypt on
Wednesday on a $4.8 billion loan to ease a deepening economic
crisis in the most populous Arab country.

After two years of political upheaval, foreign currency
reserves have fallen to critically low levels, limiting Egypt’s
ability to buy wheat, of which it is the world’s biggest
importer, and fuel.

President Mohamed Mursi’s government signed a preliminary
deal with the IMF in November but postponed ratification in
December due to unrest ignited by a political row over the
extent of Mursi’s powers.

The IMF mission began by meeting finance ministry and the
central bank officials and is expected to stay “a week or 10
days or more”, government spokesman Alaa El Hadidi told
reporters. Prime Minister Hisham Kandil will meet the team when
it has completed its work, he said.

Cairo must convince the global lender it is serious about
reforms aimed at boosting growth and curbing an unaffordable
budget deficit. That implies tax hikes and politically risky
cuts in state subsidies for fuel and food including bread.

Analysis: Germany sees itself as Europe’s grown-up, children sullen

Paul Taylor
Apr 1, 2013 07:37 UTC

BERLIN (Reuters) – Buoyed by solid finances, roaring exports and low unemployment, Germany increasingly sees itself as the only grown-up in Europe, responsible for bringing wayward children into line to hold the family together.

The children are not enjoying it. Some, such as the Cypriots and Greeks and many Italians and Spaniards, are openly resentful of “Mutti” (mum), as Berlin officials privately call Chancellor Angela Merkel. Others, such as the French, are sulking.

The mood among German politicians and officials is one of economic self-confidence tinged with a sense of parental duty to provide the euro zone with stiff-backed leadership, even if that makes them unpopular in Europe.

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