Merkel and Hollande urge Greece to continue on 'path to reform'

Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande presented a united front toward Greece on Thursday, telling Athens it should not expect leeway on its bailout agreement unless it sticks to tough reform targets.

The German and French leaders met in Berlin to fine-tune their message to Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, who begins a charm offensive in Berlin and Paris this week in the hope of persuading Europe's big powers that Greece deserves patience.

Merkel stuck to her policy of deferring to a report due in September on Athens' progress by the «troika» of international

lenders before discussing flexibility on the bailout terms, but said it was vital «that we all stay true to our commitments».

"But we will, and I will, encourage Greece to continue on its path to reform, which has demanded a lot of the Greek people,» she told reporters before a dinner with Hollande set to be dominated by Greece.

"We want, I want, Greece to be in the eurozone, it's a desire we have expressed since the start of the crisis. It's up to the Greeks to make the effort that is essential for that goal to be met,» said France's Socialist president, standing alongside Merkel.


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