France hoping for Greek rescue plan this week: minister

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France is hoping that a new rescue plan for debt-laden Greece will be agreed at a summit of European leaders in Brussels later this week, Budget Minister Valerie Pecresse said on Monday.

Asked by LCI television station whether she expected the plan to be adopted this week, the minister responded: "we hope it will be adopted and, from our point of view, the comments by (German Chancellor) Angela Merkel that she wants there to be something concrete on Thursday make good sense."

Merkel on Sunday described the meeting, which aims to stop Greece toppling into default and dragging bigger euro economies into deeper trouble, as "urgently necessary" and that "I am only going if there's an outcome."

The EU and International Monetary Fund bailed out Greece in May 2010 with a package worth 110 billion euros ($160 billion) in exchange for a series of unpopular austerity measures to stabilise its public finances.

The country is still in serious difficulty and needs another bailout valued at around the same amount. Its debt has exploded and market hostility has kept it from raising fresh loans.

"Today we want to complete the second Greek rescue plan," said Pecresse. "The only remaining question is over the private sector's involvement in the rescue plan."

The minister said that all possibilities needed to be explored so that the private sector's involvement "does not impact eurozone stability, meaning that it should not lose its attraction for investors."

"It's a complex equation... but we trust that eurozone heads of state will find a solution," she said.

© 2011 AFP

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