FRANCE - GREeCE

French leaders call for deal on 'serious' Greek budget proposals

MEPs show support for Greece's "no" to austerity this week
MEPs show support for Greece's "no" to austerity this week Reuters/Vincent Kessler

French President François Hollande on Friday hailed Greece's latest proposals on its debt as "serious" and "credible" on Friday morning. French leaders appeared to be pushing for an agreement, with Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron seeing reasons for optimism.

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"The Greeks have just shown a determination to stay in the eurozone because the programme they are presenting is serious and credible and because they will submit it to parliament, which shows strength, commitment and, I'd say, courage," Hollande said the day after Athens tabled new proposals to its creditors.

Dossier: Eurozone in crisis

"Discussions must start now, must resume with a will to reach a conclusion," he added.

There have been "major advances" in the Greek position over the last two days, Macron said in Madrid on Friday morning.

"The level of reforms could be considered up to our expectations", allowing other European states to be "reasonably optimistic", he declared.

French European Affairs Minister Harlem Désir alson hailed "serious, credible" proposals that "touch on the modernisation of Greece's administration, state and economy", he told Radio Classique in Paris.

Following last Sunday's refefendum, which saw Greek voters reject creditors' austerity package, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has proposed tax increases, a rise in retirement age, cuts in military spending, privatisation, administrative reform and reduction in public debt.

A German government spokesperson later on Friday said that there was "a very small margin of manoeuvre" for Greece's debt.

The Greek crisis has put a strain on the united front within Europe between France and Germany, whose leaders have taken a tough line on negotiations with Athens.

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