France wants Greece to stay in the euro - President Hollande

European Union/Greece – Press conference by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic, at the Euro Area summit

Brussels, 7 July 2015

Ladies and gentlemen, this Euro Area council meeting was necessary. It was even essential, following the vote by the Greeks, following Sunday’s referendum. There was a need to resume dialogue and restore confidence.

The challenge is to find out Greece’s place in the European Union and therefore in the Euro Area. France wants Greece to remain in the Euro Area and it’s working to achieve that. Nevertheless, it’s firstly up to the Greeks to make the response, and I’m not talking about what was said in the referendum and the interpretation, I’m talking about what the Greek democratic political parties want, and they’ve expressed it; they want Greece to remain in the Euro Area. Proposals must be made tomorrow morning, and then they’ll have to be specified in the framework of a medium-term programme, accompanied by a short-term request for assistance for Thursday. The Eurogroup will have to deal with this – what I call the Eurogroup is the meeting of Euro Area finance ministers – and examine these proposals in the framework of this new programme on Saturday. So a meeting of heads of state and government will be possible on Sunday.

If I had to sum up what’s at stake – I’ve said it: Greece in the Euro Area, but it’s not only a problem for Greece – it’s the future of Europe, the idea of Europe, i.e. what projects it’s capable of furthering too, what it’s capable of bringing about for the people, namely confidence. If I had to sum things up, I’d say there are three principles that must guide us today: responsibility, which applies to the Greeks but also applies to each country, and each country must know what it has to do. The second principle is solidarity: that’s how the Euro Area and the European Union were founded, but in order for there to be solidarity there must be responsibility. Finally, the third principle is speed, because several months have been devoted to discussions regarding the extension of a programme – never mind the technical terms – but today there’s no more time to lose. So it was very important for France that the timetable should be very clearly set out this evening; this has been done. On Wednesday, Greece is making proposals in the framework of a request for assistance. On Thursday, it’s specifying its proposals in the framework of a medium-term programme and the Eurogroup is ruling on those proposals before the heads of state and government have to do so, if need be.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is what I’m taking away from this Euro Area council. It’s true there’s been no decision: there couldn’t be any, it was simply about learning the lessons of the referendum, finding out whether it was the end of the process or the final moment enabling us to emerge from it. Is an agreement still possible? My answer is yes, but there will not only have to be no time-wasting: I know what the Greek people are currently undergoing for lack of liquidity, but I also know the necessity of the European rules. We’re in a group and must therefore respect its principles and obligations, and so there must be this decision-making, this responsibility and this timetable. We had to move quickly, we’ll have to move quickly so that, for the sake of the whole world, there’s a Euro Area capable of taking a decision.

This evening wasn’t the time. This evening was about a timetable; the decision will have to be taken; France will work until Saturday, indeed until Sunday to ensure this decision is in line with our interests, our interests as Europeans, our economic and financial interests, our political interests too, our idea of Europe, and therefore France will spare no effort to seek an agreement. Subsequently, it’s about responsibility: the responsibility of the Greeks, as I’ve said, and the responsibility of the Euro Area countries. France will have done everything to ensure that the idea of those who created the Euro Area, those who then consolidated it, those who wanted this Europe, can prevail.

European Union/Greece – Statements by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic, during his joint statement with Mrs Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany

Paris, 6 July 2015

Ladies and gentlemen, Angela Merkel and I agreed to have a meeting the day after Greece’s referendum, and I thank Angela for coming here to Paris today.

We take formal note of the result and respect the Greek people’s vote, because Europe is about democracy. We’ve also listened to the message from all Greece’s democratic parties, which met today and together reaffirmed their determination for their country to remain in the Euro Area.

The door is open to discussions and it’s now up to Alexis Tsipras’s government to make serious, credible proposals so that this determination to remain in the Euro Area can be translated into action with a long-term programme.

Because Greece needs long-term prospects in the Euro Area, with stable rules. And this applies to the Euro Area as well.

So we’ve got a Euro Area summit on Tuesday, and it will be up to the heads of state and government to set out a position on the basis of the proposals Greece will make. But let me emphasize the fact that time is running out and this is a matter of urgency – urgency for Greece, urgency for Europe; it’s also a question of visibility, credibility and I’d even say dignity.

Europe is confronted with this responsibility. Europe isn’t simply an economic, monetary, financial enterprise. Europe is a group founded on values, principles, a conception; a conception of the world, not simply of our continent; a conception based on freedom, openness and also respect.

In this Europe, there’s room for solidarity. Solidarity exists throughout Europe and it must exist to an even greater extent. But there’s also responsibility. It’s this balance between responsibility and solidarity which must be our line of action for the coming days.

I thank Angela once again for coming and hand over to her.

Euro Area/Greece – Communiqué issued by the Presidency of the Republic

Paris, 5 July 2015

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande will have a meeting at the Elysée Palace in the evening of Monday 6 July, followed by a working dinner to assess the consequences of the referendum in Greece.

The meeting is part of the ongoing cooperation between France and Germany to contribute to a lasting solution in Greece.

Published on 10/07/2015

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