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IMF to Ukraine: We'll Give You Money If You Give Us Austerity

$18 billion "bailout" conditional on stringent economic reforms

by
Sarah Lazare, staff writer

The International Monetary Fund announced on Thursday a $14 to $18 billion "bailout" for Ukraine that is contingent on Kiev's imposition of stringent austerity measures.

The package, which is slated for approval by the IMF's board next month, will unlock credits of up to $27 billion from the United States, European Union, Japan, and other countries over the coming years if Ukraine imposes "economic reforms."

According to Reuters, the IMF's requirements include: "allowing the national currency, the hryvnia, to float more freely against the dollar, increasing the price of gas for the domestic consumer, overhauling finances in the energy sector and following a more stringent fiscal policy."

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Ukraine's new government on Wednesday passed a drastic increase in domestic gas prices, to take effect May first, and pledged to gradually reduce energy subsidies — a widely unpopular move that former President Viktor Yanukovych refused to take.

The deal comes amid ongoing anti-austerity protests across Europe, including hundreds of thousands strong protests across Spain over the weekend. Critics charge that austerity measures, by eroding vital public goods and services, deepen crises of poverty and inequality.

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