France urges 'firmness' in helping Greece

25th April 2010, Comments 0 comments

France's Finance Minister Christine Lagarde urged EU countries on Sunday to show "firmness" and vigilance in helping Greece out of its budget crisis.

"We are all obliged to show solidarity (with Greece) ... but that doesn't mean we should be complacent," Lagarde said in an interview with the newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche.

"We want to restore stability. That doesn't prevent firmness, and we must pay close attention to the results," she added, referring to the EU's 45 billion euro (60 billion dollar) rescue loans package.

Greece appealed Friday for tens of billions of euros in unprecedented help from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund to grapple with its dire debt crisis.

The EU said it did not see any "obstacles" and would rapidly respond to the request to activate a three-year debt rescue, although Germany's Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble warned that Germany could yet refuse.

France's parliament is due to debate its own 6.3-billion-euro slice of aid for Greece on May 3.

"We need control mechanisms to make sure we do not fall into a bottomless pit" of lending to the debt-stricken country, Lagarde said.

© 2010 AFP

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