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Greece Faces Major Challenge Protecting the Vulnerable, IMF Says

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Aug. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Greece’s austerity measures must be carried out in a way that “helps to protect the most vulnerable groups,” an International Monetary Fund spokesman said.

An IMF mission will return to Athens next week, fund spokesman Gerry Rice said at a briefing with reporters in Washington today. He said Greece faces “a major challenge” implementing its reforms.

Europe’s economic slump is deepening as governments struggle to restore investor confidence and companies eliminate jobs. Economies are stalling or contracting amid concern about a possible Greek exit from the euro and the ability of Spain and Italy to service their debts.

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde spoke with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras by telephone yesterday to discuss the economy in Greece and the euro area, Rice said.

Rice also said Spain has taken strong measures to combat its crisis and hasn’t requested aid from the IMF. The country will delay deciding whether to seek a sovereign bailout until the aid conditions are clear, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said after a meeting with French President Francois Hollande.

On Egypt, Rice said the IMF is prepared to support the nation and a mission from the fund will arrive there in about two weeks to resume talks on possible financial support.

Rice also said that talks with Hungary are continuing after a joint IMF-European Commission team visited in July. No date has been set for a return visit, he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ian Katz in Washington at Ikatz2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Wellisz at cwellisz@bloomberg.net

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