Prague, April 27th, 2009
On 25–26 April, Washington hosted the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB).
The Czech delegation was headed by Miroslav Kalousek, the Czech Finance Minister and WB governor on behalf of the Czech Republic, and Zdeněk Tůma, the Governor of the Czech National Bank representing at the same time the Czech Republic as the IMF Governor.
Minister Kalousek also took part in the meeting of the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC), a primary advisory board to the IMF Board of Governors. In his capacity as the ECOFIN Council President, Minister Kalousek acquainted the participants of the IMFC meeting with the common position of the EU Member States on the current global economic crisis and the IMF’s role in it.
According to the common position, the European Union supports the increase of IMF funds (the EU itself has pledged to contribute an aggregate sum of EUR 75 bn). The EU further welcomes the IMF effort to simplify its members’ access to credit in the form of the Flexible Credit Line. It also welcomes the doubling of access limits for low-income countries. The European Union took notice of the “Manuel Report” regarding possible reforms of the IMF. This is a complex issue requiring careful assessment. The EU is ready to participate actively in the reform process.
The European Union supports an open and transparent process of selection of the highest representatives of the IMF and the World Bank, as well as strengthening the supervision of the IMF over the financial sector. In the area of international trade, the EU considers the successful conclusion of the Doha talks as important because it would represent a clear signal against all forms of protectionism – one of the priorities of the Czech Presidency of the EU Council.
On the agenda of the Czech delegation was also a series of bilateral meetings with top management of the World Bank (for instance, with its Managing Director Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Shigeo Katsu, the Vice-President for Europe and Central Asia). With respect to the conclusions of the G20 summit in London, the meetings addressed current economic issues, reactions of the World Bank to the global economic crisis and its solution in developing countries as well as acceleration of reforms relating to strengthening the voice of developing countries in the World Bank.
Representatives of the World Bank appreciated the cautious fiscal policy of the Czech Republic. As they stated, they perceive differences between individual countries in the region of Central and Eastern Europe and they consider it important to distinguish between them on the basis of real economic indicators. In this context the Czech Finance Minister reiterated that the Czech Republic is prepared to contribute toward the increase of IMF funds in the amount of 1.03 billion euro. “From the perspective of macroeconomic equilibriums and household indebtedness evaluated only in the domestic currency, the position of the Czech Republic is significantly more advantageous than that of its neighbours in the region. The fact that we managed to react instantly to the need for an increase in IMF funds shows that those who are able to offer help rapidly cannot be doing that badly,” emphasised Miroslav Kalousek.
The EU Member States agreed that only those countries that are not forced by their financial and economic situation to draw on anti-crisis aid from international financial organisations will contribute to the increase of IMF funds.
Spokeswoman of the Ministry of Finance
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