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France and Germany unite in tough message for Greece

France and Germany unite in tough message for Greece
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The French and German leaders have presented a united public front to Greece, saying it must stick to tough reform targets to secure its bailout agreement.

Angela Merkel and François Hollande met in Berlin to fine-tune their message before both see the Greek prime minister this week.

Antonis Samaras has been seeking flexibility. The German Chancellor argues it depends on what international lenders say next month.

“It is important for me that we all stay true to our commitments and above all wait for the troika report to see what the result is. But we will, and I will, encourage Greece to continue on its path to reform, which has demanded a lot of the Greek people,” Angela Merkel said.

“We want and I want Greece to stay in the euro zone. This is what we have said since the beginning of the crisis. It is for the Greeks to make the necessary efforts so we can achieve this goal,” reiterated the French president.

With an election looming next year, Angela Merkel is under pressure not to cede too much to Greece, or to the new French socialist government – and to defend German taxpayers’ interests.

The Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has been stressing that while Athens wants more time to implement painful reforms – four years instead of two – it’s not asking for more money.

Germany’s finance minister remains unconvinced; the head of the Eurogroup has said Greece is facing its last chance.

euronews’ correspondent in Berlin, Giovanni Magi, said:
“Although with the Hollande presidency we can no longer speak of the Paris-Berlin axis, this summit proves once again that an agreement between the two capitals is necessary if we want to find a solution to the eurozone’s crisis and a common European approach to big international crises.”

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