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 112.

    Isn't it the truth that if we do not hang together, we will hang separately?

    So why do so many fools still want to break up the EU and the Euro?

    Why is it that the obvious economic advantages are discounted and the obvious disadvantages are ignored?

    How come many people are still so isolationist that they hark back to a pre-industrial age?

    I blame the short-termism of politics and economics!

  • 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 37.

    Knowledgable (cynical, exploitative) Germans want the Euro to survive.

    The Southern Europeans keep the value of the Euro low for the Germans, hence their exports are booming. The Germans keep the Euro value way too high for the Greeks, Spanish, Italians etc, which is why their dodgy dealings can no longer be hidden.

    I expect lots of harrumphing, then the Greeks given as much time as they want.

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    Greece can never repay it`s enormous debts any idiot can see that. Spain and Italy in trouble following in it`s wake The euro for all it`s fanfare and support in the past is a dead duck, and better Britain unties itself from this eu corpse than stay in it a minute longer than necessary to experience it`s death throes would be pathetic. Now Mr Cameron what about our vote on ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    Greece can't cope, the rest of Europe doesn't want to cope.

    It was a bad idea and is only going one way.


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