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France, Germany: Next Move Up to Athens

  • Lisa Bryant

France's President Francois Hollande, right, and German chancellor Angela Merkel arrive to give a press conference, at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, July 6, 2015.

France's President Francois Hollande, right, and German chancellor Angela Merkel arrive to give a press conference, at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, July 6, 2015.

The eurozone’s two most powerful members, France and Germany, say the door is open for resolving the Greek crisis, but that the next move is up to Athens.

French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel offered similar messages to Greece on Tuesday that were both conciliatory and a sober reminder that the clock is ticking.

In a brief statement with Merkel following talks in Paris, Hollande said the door is open for discussions on resolving the Greek debt crisis — and keeping Athens in the eurozone. But, he said it is now up to Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his government to come up with concrete and credible proposals that can translate into a lasting program for the country.

Eurozone leaders hope those proposals will arrive by Tuesday evening, when they hold a summit in Brussels to find a way out of an escalating crisis. The resounding “no” to more austerity delivered by Greek voters in Sunday’s referendum has increased fears of financial collapse in Greece and the country’s exit from the 19 member euro currency union - and even of the EU.

Merkel said pre-conditions for fresh talks on a new rescue package for Greece are not yet there. It is now up to Tsipras, she said, to offer a precise program and to find a way out.

Despite the show of unity in Paris, France and Germany have offered different reactions to the Greek crisis. Hollande, along with Spanish and Italian leaders, have adopted a more conciliatory approach than Berlin. Still, Hollande noted that while Europe goes beyond the economy and finance and embraces values and principles, it is also about shared responsibility.

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