The President of France Nicolas Sarkozy said he has pledged to resolve the Greek debt crisis and that a solution needed to be found quickly, by July at the latest; and that he and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are united in their resolve.
Sarkozy and Merkel stated that Greece will need a second bailout program (on top of the 110-billion euro package it received last May). The size of the new bailout is reportedly valued at between 80-billion and 120-billion euros, and caused much strife among Euro Zone members.
However, now there appears to be some sort of “breakthrough” suggesting Greece will indeed receive a new round of funds.
We want to go as quickly as possible without fixing a date, Sarkozy said after meeting with Merkel in Berlin, adding that there was no time to lose.”
Germany and France are determined at the upcoming EU summit ... to say that we want a quick solution, Merkel said at a joint news conference in Berlin.
They also suggested that if private sector entities want to participate in the second bailout, it should be on a voluntary basis in league with the European Central Bank, the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund.
Merkel told reporters: I want to stress this: There is no legal basis so far for there being obligatory involvement.”
Sarkozy and Merkel, leaders of the two most powerful and influential nations in the Euro Zone, also urged the Athens government to continue to pursue its tough austerity program to reduce debt.
Meanwhile, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, who has endured a huge drop in support and popularity, has reshuffled his cabinet and also named a new finance minister.
The harsh austerity program, which includes tax hikes, public spending cuts and privatization of state assets, has sparked widespread outrage and protests across Greece.