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France’s Hollande hails Greek proposals, urges deal (Updated)

French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron talks at a conference in Madrid, Spain

French President Francois Hollande said the latest proposals for reforms by the Greek government were “serious and credible”, and said talks between Greece and international creditors must now resume with the aim of reaching a deal.

Hollande added that Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ decision to put the proposed reforms to the Greek parliament showed “strength, commitment and indeed courage”.

“The Greeks have just shown their determination to remain in the euro zone, since the programme they are putting forward is serious and credible,” Hollande told reporters on Friday.

Tsipras has offered last-minute concessions to try to save his country from bankruptcy, including plans for more tax hikes, pension reforms, defence spending cuts, a timetable for privatising state assets such as Piraeus port and regional airports, and hikes in VAT for hotels and restaurants.

He has called a snap vote in parliament on Friday asking for its backing to negotiate a list of measures his government would take to convince creditors of its intent for an aid deal.

France aims to “do everything to get a good deal, a deal that respects European rules and respects the Greeks, too, because they have suffered a great deal for several years, and at the same time they have to understand that reforms are essential,” Hollande said.

Tsipras and other European leaders are set to examine whether a deal can be struck at an emergency summit on Sunday.

French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron said in Madrid on Friday that he was “reasonably optimistic” Greece would reach an aid-for-reforms deal with its creditors, adding that major advances had occurred in recent days and saying a discussion about Greece’s debt burden was needed.

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