Grexit would be catastrophe – French FinMin in Vilnius

Michel Sapin

“The eurozone has been created to expand and not to contract. The exit from the eurozone would be a catastrophe and, first of all, for Greece itself,” the minister told BNS when asked about Greece’s expectations to reach agreement on a reform plan and new loan next week.

According to the French minister, during the negotiations, eurozone members have to take into account the recent post-election government change in Greece but the new government must respect the country’s commitments.

“The first principle is the principle of democracy the whole of Europe is based on. If the majority in a country changes, we need to accept that and we cannot work the way we did with the previous majority. It’s not normal that the Greek government is presenting proposals that match their agenda,” Sapin told journalists.

“The second principle, the decisive principle, is that being a member of the EU, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank, Greece has to respect those principles. It must respect its commitments,” he said.

There’s been an increase in mutual trust in the recent negotiations between Greece and its creditors in the eurozone, the French minister noted.

“I believe we will soon find a solution based on figures and reliable and serious information,” the minister said.

The Greek government plans to present a reform package on Monday, including proposals on ways to step up tax collection and attract more investment, and hopes that upon its receipt, eurozone partners will approve allocation of additional funding.

France is the second-largest economy in the eurozone after Germany and plays an important role in the ongoing negotiations on the Greek debt.

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