French PM foresees solid backing for Greece

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French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said Wednesday that Germany was ready to put aside its reservations over an EU package to rescue Greece from a debt default.

"We will be by Greece's side... and any hesitations the German government has had will be ended," Fillon told French lawmakers in Paris, while in Berlin Chancellor Angela Merkel hosted a series of talks on the crisis.

"I have no doubt she will take exactly the same position as the French government and all the other European states," to make huge loans to help Greece, Fillon said.

"I want to say clearly to all those who are speculating against Greece and betting against the european currency, that the European Union and the eurozone states will meet all their responsibilities to Greece".

Greece has asked the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to put together a financial aid package worth some 45 billion euros (60 billion dollars) to help rescue its debt-ridden economy.

Germany has voiced reservations about the rescue, with Merkel demanding that Athens first produce a credible plan to reduce its deficits. She called on Wednesday for talks between Greece, the IMF and the EU to be sped up.

French lawmakers are to vote on France's contribution of 6.3 billion euros in loans, including 3.3 billion euros to cover current accounts, on Monday in the lower house of parliament. It will pass to the upper house later in the week.

The French parliament's finance committee approved this contribution unanimously in a preliminary vote on Wednesday.

"We must support Greece," said Bernard Accoyer, the leader of France's lower house, on Wednesday. "We will set the example for solidarity" with Greece, he added.

"The economic, financial and social cost of abandoning Greece would be heavier than the help we are going to bring," said his counterpart in the upper house Senate, Gerard Larcher.

© 2010 AFP

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