Francois Hollande piles pressure on Greek PM Samaras


Francois Hollande: "Greece must demonstrate once again that its actions are credible"

French President Francois Hollande has urged Greece to prove it can pass reforms demanded by international creditors, after talks with Greek leader Antonis Samaras.

Mr Samaras has been appealing for more time to introduce the reforms.

But Mr Hollande said no further decision could be taken until European ministers consider a major report on Greece's finances, due in September.

Donors including the EU insist Greece has to make major spending cuts.

These are needed if Greece is to secure the next tranche of its bailout.

The BBC's Mark Lowen in Athens says the Greek government is under pressure to win concessions from Europe to placate the tired nation and lessen the likelihood of a destabilising period of social unrest.

Mr Samaras is seeking an extension of up to two years for the necessary reforms, in order to provide Greece with the growth needed to improve its public finances.

In talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel earlier this week, he was told that the decision would depend on a report from the so-called troika - the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Central Bank (ECB) and the European Commission.

Mr Hollande also said Europe needed to consider the report before it could make any further decisions on Greece.

He said decisions on whether to grant Greece more time should be taken when European finance ministers meet in early October.

Greece discussions timetable

  • 22 August: Greek PM Antonis Samaras met Eurogroup chief Jean-Claude Juncker
  • 23 August: Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande met to discuss Greece
  • 24 August: Chancellor Merkel and PM Samaras meet
  • 25 August: President Hollande and PM Samaras meet
  • Early September: Troika staff go back to Greece
  • 14-15 September: Gathering of European finance ministers in Cyprus
  • Troika's review of progress to be published by the end of September
  • 8-9 October: Finance ministers attend two days of meetings in Luxembourg

"We've been facing this question for two and a half years, there's no time to lose, there are commitments to reaffirm on both sides, decisions to take, and the sooner the better," he said.

Greece's continued access to the bailout packages depends on a favourable report from the troika.

Athens is trying to finalise a package of 11.5bn euros ($14.4bn; £9.1bn) of spending cuts over the next two years.

It is also being asked to put in place economic and structural reforms, including changes to the labour market and a renewed privatisation drive.

The measures are needed to qualify for the next 33.5bn-euro instalment of its second 130bn-euro bailout.

Greece needs the funds to make repayments on its debt burden. A default could result in the country leaving the euro.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 111.

    re #102 The fact they were deemed as 'too big to fail', then rescued with our money was, of course, a socialist response."

    That's precisely what Obama has done re biggest failed US banks.

    Bailing them out using OTHER PEOPLE'S money.

    [as any bona fide Socialist would]

    We'll remember in November.

  • rate this

    Comment number 110.

    We UK citizens have been hectored & lectured by the French & Germans for our lack of "solidarite" for the "European Project". We've now observed their "solidarite" first hand and it is obvious that whilst German & French politicians are "European" first, their citizens are decidedly nationals of their own counties first, just like us, & what is wrong with that ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 109.

    Hollande is dooming the EU project further by saying greece must stay in the euro, he is putting his political super state idea ahead of economic sense. Greece isn`t just bankrupt, it has massive problems with tax collecting, tax avoidence, early retirement age being 50years old but most take it at 30 and no manufacturing base.

    It will take decades to fix all of greece`s problems, not years.

  • rate this

    Comment number 108.

    30. johnny wrote: "we all know the last time the Germans were in charge of Greece.It's still a bitter memory for most of Europe."

    Being half German, half British, I find this comment highly offensive. There is hardly anyone left in Germany now who even remembers the time you refer to. It has absolutely nothing to do with the dilemma at hand. The Germans are afraid their economy will suffer, too.

  • rate this

    Comment number 107.

    The Greeks are going to find out soon that their reckless spending and futile attempts to make a largely agrarian and low skill economy look like an industrialized one have led them to disaster. The Germans must cut the debt cord and kick them out of the Euro. Greece is lost and the Battle of Spain is about to begin.

    Greeks will feel a dramatic loss of living standards and return to farming.

  • rate this

    Comment number 106.

    I must admit it I am a true blue Conservative and I also support Oxford in the boat race but I think that all of us, and I do mean ALL of us owe a vote of thanks to Gordon Brown for keeping us out of the Euro.
    Tony Blair gave away millions of the payback that Maggie Thatcher won for us - for what - for sod all that's what. Blair would have signed us in to the Euro without Gordon Brown. Thanks

  • rate this

    Comment number 105.

    Exploiting and ripping off German capitalists by claiming most of them were "greedy Jews" (scapegoats being badly needed).

    Scapegoats like, and they may sound familiar by now. Nurses, poor school children, OAP's, armed forces, students, the disabled and the weak and vulnerable in our society?
    How has the UK slipped back to the 1930's ideology of seeking and, persecuting scapegoats?

  • rate this

    Comment number 104.

    Its quite obvious that Greece needs a massive public spending programme to create jobs and wealth, as does Britain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 103.

    The pain has been prolonged too much already. Greece can never get on top of this debt. It was wrong to give them a taste of having a hard currency that they could never support. Politicians from all sides have let them down terribly. Their exit will come, the politicians must put the needs of the Greek people before their political dream.

  • rate this

    Comment number 102.

    We are not trapped in a capitalist world anymore than we are trapped in a socialist one.

    The banks lost a hell of a lot more money displaying capitalist techniques rather than socialist ones.

    The fact they were deemed as 'too big to fail', then rescued with our money was, of course, a socialist response.

    The worst of both systems is being forced on us.

    The best of both ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 101.

    Hollande...why this different tune?

  • rate this

    Comment number 100.

    What a fine mess un-democratic the Eurozone has got itself into. Wealthy German & French politicians telling bankrupt Greece what to do but not elected by the Greek people?

    When did Europeans decide that wealth was more important than democracy and the vote?

  • rate this

    Comment number 99.

    Keep struggling to stay in the euros Greece. Germany depends on it! Their survival and prosperity relies on you and others devaluing the euros to make their exports affordable. You get the pain, they get the profit, you know it makes sense! A small price to pay to be part of the great EU Empire, run by the rich, for the rich, Germans. They own and run your money.

  • rate this

    Comment number 98.

    ..real cost to Greece...the ugly face of disaster capitalism.
    In Greece's case their problems stem from the ugly face of not paying their taxes.

  • Comment number 97.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 96.

    Lets play capitalism!
    Please Greece default.
    Then the euro would crash, then the city, then wall street and we would have a chance to restructure without the parasitic fantasy finance games that have been stopping REAL wealth being generated for 20 years.
    It would be messy for a couple of years, if Greece dont default its going to be messy for eternity.

  • rate this

    Comment number 95.

    Burn the bonds, stuff the bankers. Capitalism is evil.

  • rate this

    Comment number 94.

    Piston Ring is right but the EU will not let Greece out of the Euro because Greece would be able to have a great economic future in time and this would upset all the Europhiles and their dream of Euro Domination would be ended. And, what about all the poor Euro employees with their multi thousand euro expenses and salaries. Oh dear, what a shame, never mind ! (apologies to Bootsie)

  • rate this

    Comment number 93.

    oh france feels like being tough well mr french president only 300 years too late your country has been follower for ever now you follow the germans, why on earth did allied troops die freeing you from german invasion.
    Economic takeover of Europe
    All detailed in The Red House Report
    Cant post link as it is usually withdrawn by the Ministry of Shut Your Mouth

    @84 spot on

  • rate this

    Comment number 92.

    I do find the French Presidents position a triffle at odds with his own "pre-election" words. Before the election he was going to be the man of tax and spend, and now he's telling the Greeks to make bigger cuts.

    You can't have it both ways!

    Me thinks the reality of Goverment for Mr Hollande is a bit like our own Government - the cupboard is bare and you can't spend money you don't have.


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