ECB decision on Greece 'legitimate': Hollande

5th February 2015, Comments 0 comments

French President Francois Hollande said Thursday the European Central Bank's decision to cut off Greek banks' access to a key source of much-needed cash was "legitimate".

Speaking at at one of his biannual press conferences, he said the ECB move put the responsibility to reduce debt squarely on the shoulders of "states and governments... And it's perfectly legitimate."

Hollande's comments came a day after he met Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Paris.

The anti-austerity government of Tsipras came to power after a January election on a mandate to renegotiate Greece's unpopular EU-IMF bailout and erase over half the country's debt.

Hollande said he had told the Greek prime minister to go visit German Chancellor Angela Merkel, seen as the toughest nut to crack in gaining backing for an easing of the terms of the bailout deal, adding that "she will meet with him."

The ECB announced Wednesday it would no longer accept Greek government bonds -- which have a junk rating -- as collateral for loans to the country's banks.

The move sent European stocks sliding in early trade Thursday and was widely viewed as a warning to Greece to reach a rapid agreement on renegotiating its 240-billion-euro ($270 billion) EU-IMF bailout, or face further consequences.

Greece was quick to respond, saying it would not be "blackmailed."

© 2015 AFP

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