Putin muddies IMF spring meetings | Economy

The economic vice president of Spain, Nadia Calviño, during her speech at the IMF Financial Committee
The economic vice president of Spain, Nadia Calviño, during her speech at the IMF Financial CommitteeJose Luis Magana (AP)

Moscow’s offensive against Ukraine has clouded the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), one of the two major events that the Washington-based body holds each year and brings together the leaders of the economy from around the world. The bloody invasion has not only changed all economic forecasts from top to bottom, but has also altered the course of the sessions. The tension crystallized this Thursday, when the Kremlin delegation blocked a declaration of condemnation.

“Unfortunately, the discrepancy of one of the members has broken the unity. Russia’s war against Ukraine has made it impossible to reach a consensus on the statement,” said Spanish Vice President Nadia Calviño, who was inaugurated as rotating president of the Fund’s Financial Committee, which is the advisory and governing body of their policies.

When one of the member countries of the institution is the invader – and the cause of an unexpected major crisis – the discussions about how to respond seem complicated. The situation these days in the IMF has not reached the bizarre point of the United Nations Organizations (UN), where Russia is the country that holds the rotating presidency of the Security Council. Hours before the war began, Russia’s permanent representative to the UN, Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya, chaired a meeting of the highest executive body, but not on Ukraine, but on the Middle East. And that night, in the midst of the second Council meeting in just 48 hours, the Kremlin announced the offensive with the words of “a special military action.”

This time, Russia is not in the lead, but it does have the ability to veto the joint declarations, although, as Calviño has stated, “the members have made an overwhelming call to stop the war and concerns have been expressed about the negative impact of the conflict”. Nor could the G-20 meeting held on Wednesday produce a joint position for the same reasons. Instead of issuing a joint statement, the chair of the IMF Committee read a statement in which she addressed the main points of the meeting and alluded to the human and economic toll that the war promoted by Russia has on the world, both because of the consequences direct as well as indirect.

Specifically, the body calls for a “rapid resolution through diplomatic channels”, appeals to “political dialogue” and defends multilateralism. The IMF not only calculates that the conflict will hamper the economic growth it had forecast for the world this year by eight tenths, reaching 3.6%, but it also warns that it will prolong the rise in prices and the problems in the supply chains. supply, which feeds back into the crisis. In addition, this shock to the economy comes when the world had only just recovered from the scourge of the worst pandemic in a century and raises the risk of a return to an economy of geopolitical blocs.

In this sense, Calviño has stressed: “If there is a moment for multilateralism, this is it”. Asked whether governments should prioritize solving urgent problems or continue betting on medium- and long-term goals, such as fiscal sustainability, the Spanish Vice President pointed out: “It is not a question of having to bet on one thing or the other. We must be very effective in responding in a coordinated and firm manner to any risks and crises, without losing sight of the long-term objectives of financial and fiscal stability.”

He knows in depth all the sides of the coin.


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