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Lagarde discusses global economy and ‘hanky panky business’ at IMF forum

Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the IMF, spoke at GW Thursday. Madeleine Cook | Hatchet Photographer
Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the IMF, spoke at GW Thursday. Madeleine Cook | Hatchet Photographer
This post was written by Staff Writer Liz Provencher.

Christine Lagarde, managing director for the International Monetary Fund, analyzed what’s affecting the global economy in Lisner Auditorium Thursday.

The interview, which BBC’s Hardtalk host Stephen Sackur moderated, included both Lagarde’s view of the state of the global economy and discussions of how current events like the presidential election impact the economy.

During the interview Lagarde described the current global economy as “too slow and too fragile” to grow, but assured the audience that it is not in a recession like 2008.

Here’s what the IMF’s managing director had to say on some major economic events:

1. Debt in Greece

Lagarde said Greece’s debt load – which is at 185 percent of the country’s GDP – must get to a level that is “realistic and sustainable” in order to restore the economy.

Lagarde said the IMF has no plans to completely walk away from Greece and their debt. The amount of help the IMF gives depends on different circumstances but “we will not walk away,” Lagarde said.

“Everyone wants Greece to be more solid, stable and independent.” Lagarde said.

2. Great Britain leaving the European Union

In a conversation about what the United Kingdom leaving the European Union could mean for the global economy, Lagarde expressed her love for Britain and said she hopes the UK will continue to be an important part of the EU.

Lagarde said the IMF is still analyzing the costs and benefits on the world economy if Britain were to leave the EU. She said the UK is a “critical” part of the EU and said leaving the EU could potentially harm other countries.

3. IMF lending to corrupted regimes

The IMF has recently given a loan to Ukraine, which is a country known to have government corruption. Lagarde said that while the IMF doesn’t want to support corruption, countries with corrupt regimes often need the most help.

“When we help a country, we don’t go to help the leadership. We go to help the people of the country who are in need.” Lagarde said.

Lagarde also said there have been times where the IMF has supported a country and rescinded the support after learning of “hanky panky business.

4. U.S. presidential election

Sackur ended the conversation with a question about what Lagarde thinks of a Trump-Cruz presidency in 2016. After a quick laugh, Lagarde turned the question back to the economy.

“Any proposal to restrict trade and build barriers is not conducive to a prosperous global economy.” Lagarde said.

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