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FRANCE - GREECE

ECB financing for Greece 'cannot be lowered', French finance minister says

Supporters of the 'No' vote celebrate their victory in the city centre of Athens, 5 July 2015
Supporters of the 'No' vote celebrate their victory in the city centre of Athens, 5 July 2015 Reuters/Marko Djurica

Financing provided by the European Central Bank to Greece "cannot be lowered," French finance minister Michel Sapin warned Monday ahead of a meeting by the bank after Greek voters rejected bailout proposals made by international creditors in a referendum.

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In the final tally early Monday, more than 61 per cent of Greeks had rejected creditor demands for further austerity in return for more bailout funds.

It is now "up to the Greek government to make proposals. The vote itself solves nothing," Sapin said.

Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos spoke by telephone to French President Francois Hollande on Monday, and Hollande was set to hold talks on the referendum result with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a dinner meeting in Paris Monday night.

Meanwhile French government spokesman Stephane Le Foll said "no one among the leaders involved has expressed the wish to kick Greece out" of the eurozone.

Berlin, Paris and Brussels had all warned in the run-up to Sunday's referendum that a 'No' vote to reform demands by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund was a 'No' vote for the single currency and a return to the drachma.

Dossier: Eurozone in crisis

The creditors now face a choice between trying to avoid the risk of contagion from a Greek euro exit or sticking to their austerity guns.

French politicians such as French Economy Minister Emmanuel stressed before the vote that Europe should continue to negotiate with Greece no matter the outcome of the referendum.

The majority of French people think Tsipras is right to oppose the European Union over Greece's debt, an opinion poll published by Le Parisien newspaper on Sunday found. It reported that 58 per cent of those asked held that opinion, even if 51 per cent had a poor opinion of the Greek prime minister.

Those on the French right, however, called for Greece to be ushered out of the euro.

"Greece is no longer capable of sticking to the disciplines of the eurozone," said Alain Juppé from Nicolas Sarkozy's Les Républicains party.

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