World Bulletin / News Desk
France will do all it can to stop Greece leaving the euro zone, a move that would have geopolitical consequences and hurt the world economy, Prime Minister Manuel Valls said on Wednesday, in the strongest statement of intent from Paris against a 'Grexit'.
President Francois Hollande later said France would encourage Greece to deliver a "precise plan" that would inspire confidence in its euro zone partners.
"Keeping Greece in the euro and therefore in the heart of Europe and the EU is something of the utmost geostrategic and geopolitical importance," said Valls in a keynote speech to the French parliament on the Greek crisis.
"Allowing Greece to exit the euro zone would be an admission of impotence - France refuses that," Valls said, adding that a deal between Athens and creditors remained "within grasp".
While calling on Alexis Tsipras' government to make reforms to its tax and pensions systems, Valls said Athens also needed to have a "clear perspective" on how its creditors intended to handle its debt.
In contrast to many German counterparts, French officials have repeatedly said that talks on Greek debt, including a possible re-alignment of maturities, should not be taboo.
In his speech, Valls sketched out more than a century of political and cultural ties linking France and Greece, which he described as a "great European nation".
A stable Greece was strategically important for Europe's ties with Turkey and given the continued fragility of the Balkans and tensions on Europe's eastern border, Valls said in reference to the Ukraine conflict.
He described Greece as Europe's outpost to the Middle East and as a front-line player in the growing immigration crisis as Europe struggled to deal with thousands of people fleeing poverty and conflict in Africa and the Middle East.
"Weaken Greece and we are all weakened. It would weaken Europe and have repercussions for the world economy," he said.
"France's role, notably with Germany, is to build the future of Europe together. When the chips are down ... it's France and Germany together with a duty to rise to the occasion," Valls added..
Valls said the Greek crisis showed among other things the need to speed up efforts to improve governance of the euro zone, for example by forging common policies to nurture social and economic convergence in the region.
"I share this point of view expressed by Mister Hollande and Mister Valls but there is a red line, which is that the compromise must not destroy the credibility of the 18 other member countries of the euro zone," he said on TF1 television.
"There are only bad solutions," he added.Güncelleme Tarihi: 09 Temmuz 2015, 09:47