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Clive Crook

France Takes Greece's Side Against Germany

Does Berlin still care about its alliance with Paris?
The way they were.

The way they were.

Photographer: Christophe Morin/Bloomberg via Getty Images

You can't exaggerate the importance of France's decision to align itself with Greece before this weekend's crisis meetings. As Wolfgang Munchau correctly notes in the Financial Times, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has finally succeeded in dividing the creditors. A split between Germany and France, no less, and on an issue as momentous as this -- on the course of the entire European project -- isn't just any division.

Ignore all the expressions of bewilderment over Tsipras's acceptance of terms he and his country just roundly rejected. That's all beside the point. He had already capitulated -- weeks ago -- on the larger part of the fiscal obligations in the creditors' last offer. He was holding out for a commitment to debt relief now, rather than talks about it later.