French President Francois Hollande received an appeal from a group of lawmakers including some from the ruling Socialist Party and other political figures to end the “financial blackmail” of Greece by its European creditors.
The message of France “cannot be a docile reminder of the rules at a time when the house is burning,” the lawmakers said in an open letter to Hollande published on the website of France’s Communist Party. “We are asking you to take the initiative to unblock the talks between the euro group and the Greek political authorities.”
The letter highlights the domestic political pressure Hollande faces to help broker a deal between Greece and its creditors as the region’s most indebted nation is on the brink of a default.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Hollande spoke by phone on Friday after a meeting of euro area finance ministers failed to advance toward an agreement with Greece. So far the two biggest economies in the 19-nation euro bloc have presented a united front against Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who has spent his five months in power trying to roll back the austerity policies underpinning the country’s bailout.
At the finance minister’s meeting in Luxembourg on Thursday, French Finance Minister Michel Sapin pressed hardest for a compromise, while his German counterpart, Wolfgang Schaeuble stayed largely silent and ministers from other countries stepped up the pressure on Greece, according to two people familiar with the matter.
The French lawmakers, including Socialists such as Pouria Amirshahi and Fanelie Carrey-Conte, told Hollande to place France “at the side of the people of Greece.”
“Bring explicit support to the healthy measures taken by the Greek authorities, notably those addressing the humanitarian crisis in the country” they said. “Accept the principle of a restructuring of Greek debt, of which a large part is notoriously illegitimate.”