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Greek debt crisis/Euro Area

Published on October 4, 2011
Greece – Statement by Nicolas Sarkozy, President of the Republic, following his meeting with George Papandreou, Prime Minister of Greece

Paris, September 30, 2011

Ladies and gentlemen,

I’ve just had a meeting with Mr Papandreou, the Greek Prime Minister. I asked him to implement the reform and savings efforts to which he committed himself on behalf of the Greek government.

I know the Greek people have suffered a lot in recent months and weeks, but for too many years reforms have been put off and bad habits acquired.

The Greek Prime Minister assured me of the Greek government’s total determination to implement scrupulously every one of the commitments Greece has made. He even conveyed to me the Greek authorities’ concern for transparency: they’re ready to host colleagues from the EU and other European countries to verify, step by step, that the commitments Europe has demanded of Greece are scrupulously met.

My dear compatriots,

I’d like to tell you that we have a moral obligation towards the Euro Area and European Union member countries. Europe is a civilization, it’s a family and it’s solidarity. A failure for Greece would be a failure for the whole of Europe. There’s no credible alternative [to this approach].

Yes, there’s a moral obligation of solidarity, but there’s also an economic obligation of solidarity. Remember that when the Lehman Brothers bank went bankrupt in the United States in 2008, all the banking systems in the world paid the consequences.
For economic and moral reasons, it isn’t possible to ditch Greece.

In the next few days I’ll be in Germany to continue with Chancellor Merkel the work of cooperation and coordination between Germany and France, which has allowed Europe to be protected. Germany and France must see totally eye to eye in order to fight against speculation, against the markets spiralling out of control, and to protect Europe.

Mrs Merkel and I shall be discussing ways and means of speeding up the economic integration of the Euro Area and of implementing the measures decided on 21 July 2011 as swiftly as possible.

I’m delighted with the Chancellor’s success in the vote in the Bundestag yesterday.

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen./.

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