Date: Monday 28 May 2012
International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde made some controversial remarks in an interview with The Guardian; she later sought to clarify her statements following the outrage expressed by Greeks.
"I think more of the little kids from a school in a little village in Niger who get teaching two hours a day, sharing one chair for three of them, and who are very keen to get an education," said Lagarde in an interview with the paper on Saturday. "I have them in my mind all the time. Because I think they need even more help than the people in Athens."
Lagarde also recommended Greeks to help themselves collectively by paying their taxes. "As far as Athens is concerned, I also think about all those people who are trying to escape tax all the time," she said.
Greek leaders have condemned Lagarde for her comments about Greeks not paying taxes. Many Greeks who felt insulted also left thousands of messages on Lagarde's facebook profile page.
Hours later, Lagarde wrote on her Facebook profile in order to clarify her earlier statements. "I am very sympathetic to the Greek people and the challenges they are facing. That's why the IMF is supporting Greece in its endeavour to overcome the current crisis and return to the path of economic growth, jobs and stability."
She then emphasised the point she was trying to make: "An important part of this effort is that everyone should carry their fair share of the burden, especially the most privileged and especially in terms of paying their taxes."
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