France and Germany have given a glimmer of hope to debt-laden Greece, in moves paving the way for a fresh European rescue plan to be put into action.
Members of the French lower house of parliament backed a second bailout for Athens, agreed by eurozone leaders in July. An expected thumbs up in the upper house would make France the first EU nation to ratify the 109 billion euro package.
For Plutarchos Sakellaris, the Greek Vice President of the European Investment Bank, a helping hand will make all the difference.
“Greece has a lot of potentially productive capacity and assets,” he told euronews. “And I am sure, with a little bit of help on taking off some of the risk from the shoulders of financiers, I am sure that a lot of capital will be going into financing good investments.”
Some other countries are more reluctant to rescue the Greeks, with the debt crisis raising questions about whether the single currency can survive. But the euro and its value are not in danger at all, according to German MEP Klaus-Heiner Lehne.
“We are talking about a national debt… national debts of some EU member states who did not respect the limits. They do need help and will be helped but this does not concern the currency,” he said.
Chancellor Angela Merkel has faced a domestic revolt over her euro zone policy. But Germany’s top court has rejected a challenge to the bailouts, giving her a boost.