France’s Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire expresses hope for ‘global agreement’ on Greece at Eurogroup

Arriving for his first-ever Eurogroup meeting on Monday, France’s new Minister for the Economy Bruno Le Maire expressed hope that this will conclude with a “global agreement” regarding Greece.

Achieving convergence between Berlin and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will require significant effort, the French economy minister said, because the initial positions of the two sides were “quite far apart”.

“This is the job of finance ministers, however, and I hope that a good effort will be made today,” he added.

Le Maire reported having a series of meetings with his Eurozone counterparts ahead of Monday’s Eurogroup, including his meeting with German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble in Berlin earlier the same day and Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos, as well as a meeting with IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde.

Welcoming the “difficult” measures and decisions pushed through the Greek Parliament last week, Le Maire noted that Monday’s Eurogroup must arrive at an agreement that allows Greece to face the future in a more positive way. “I think this is in the interests of Greece but also the Eurozone,” he said.

In response to Schaeuble’s statement that he has not been given the German Parliament’s mandate to reduce Greek debt, meanwhile, Le Maire said that it was “possible to find solutions that do not require the approval of the German Parliament, provided there is imagination.”