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Greece’s Imperfect Imperative

LONDON – Greece and its creditors are now enacting a deal that provides financial support in exchange for wide-ranging reforms. Although reservations about the agreement abound, political conditions did not permit a better one. But the deal can – and must – serve as the basis for saving Greece and the eurozone.

For the plan to work, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras must show real commitment to a reform program in which neither he nor many Greek citizens believe. And he must forge an alliance with Greece’s pro-European parties, because only a united government will be able to deliver.

The creditors must find the money to fund the bailout. And the International Monetary Fund must agree with the Eurogroup on how to restore debt sustainability in Greece, a precondition for the country to regain access to capital markets.

In this effort, a critical distinction must be made: though Greece has committed to deep and rapid reform, it must not be forced into hurried fiscal consolidation. Indeed, such an approach could undermine urgently needed structural reforms, not least by destroying the political capital required to enact them.