World leaders speak out on Greece


The state of affairs in Greece on Wednesday prompted world leaders – and not only in the sphere of politics – to speak out.

In an unusual move, Pope Francis expressed solidarity with Greeks experiencing a “keenly felt human and social crisis.” According to the Vatican spokesman, the Reverend Federico Lombardi, the pope is urging the faithful “to unite in prayer for the good of the beloved Greek people.”

In the arena of politics, there was less obvious sympathy.

President Francois Hollande of France suggested that talks were needed in the coming days. “We need to be clear. The time for a deal is now,” Agence-France Presse quoted him as saying.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has championed austerity in Greece, said further negotiations can only be held after a Greek referendum planned for Sunday.

Emphasizing the importance of trust and compromise, Merkel said Berlin would nonetheless not make concessions at any cost.

Merkel told the German Parliament that “the door to talks with the Greek government was always open and will always stay open.” But she also criticized Greece for basically ending negotiations unilaterally by announcing Sunday’s referendum. She added that Europe has become stronger over the past five years, adding “we can wait calmly,” referring to the referendum result.

In a statement, the White House said it believed all parties involved in negotiations over Greece’s financial crisis wanted the country to stay in the eurozone and encouraged all sides to recognize the mutual interest they have in resolving the situation.