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Strict austerity damaging recovery in Greece

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A leading architect of the austerity programme in Greece – one of the harshest ever seen in Europe – has admitted that its emphasis on fiscal consolidation has failed to work, and said economic recovery will only come if the crisis-hit country changes tack and focuses on structural reforms. Poul Thomsen, a senior International Monetary Fund official who oversees the organisation's mission in Greece, also insists that, contrary to popular belief, Athens has achieved a lot since the eruption of the debt crisis in December 2009. "We will have to slow down a little as far as fiscal adjustment is concerned and move faster – much faster – with the reforms needed to modernise the economy," he told the Greek daily Kathimerini, adding that the policy shift would be "reflected" in the conditions foreign lenders attached to a new rescue programme for Athens.

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