Hollande promises growth, warns Greece it must stick to commitments

French President Francois Hollande warned Greeks on Wednesday that some eurozone countries are prepared to let Greece return to the drachma if it shows a lack of willingness to meet its bailout commitments.

Hollande, whose victory over Nicolas Sarkozy provided many Greeks with hope of a change in economic policy within the eurozone, firmly backed Greece remaining in the euro. “I am in favor of Greece remaining in the eurozone but Greeks should know that this requires there be a relationship of trust,” Hollande said in an interview with Mega TV.

“There will be countries in the eurozone that would prefer to see an end to Greece’s presence in the single currency if there is an impression that the Greeks want to distance themselves from the agreed commitments,” he added.

Hollande pledged that at an EU leaders’ summit later this month, steps would be taken to boost growth in the eurozone and that Greece would benefit from these measures. “We will adopt growth measures that will have an impact on Greece if it chooses to remain in the eurozone and meet its commitments.”

In an interview with Stern magazine, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble expressed sympathy with ordinary Greeks suffering from the crisis but said that Greece did not have any other options but to reduce wages in order to regain competitiveness. “In a crisis... the little man suffers and the rich feather their own nests,” he said. “It is not easy to cut the minimum wage in Greece when you think of the many people who own a yacht.”

Schaeuble said that regardless of the result of the elections on June 17, the next government’s targets would be the same. “An election result will not change anything about the real situation of the country, which is in a painful crisis due to decades of economic mismanagement,” he said.


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