French MPs approve Greek agreement


Several hours before Greek MPs started debating the country’s agreement with creditors for a new bailout, France’s Parliament overwhelmingly backed the plan.

French MPs approved the contentious agreement by 412 votes to 69, with Prime Minister Manuel Valls saying it was the only way out of the crisis.

“We are demanding a lot of the Greeks, not just to punish [the country], but to accompany it through a vital economic recovery,” he said.

Meanwhile, as the International Monetary Fund indicated that it would not back the Greek agreement unless European
partners grant Athens significant debt relief, US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew began a last-minute whistle-stop tour of Frankfurt, Berlin and Paris to press for a swift finalization of the deal.

Lew was expected to meet with European Central Bank President Mario Draghi and German and French finance ministers Wolfgang Schaeuble and Michel Sapin.

British Prime Minister David Cameron backed the IMF report, saying Greece needed relief from its debts.

“The point they are making that there needs to be debt relief for Greece must be right,” he told British MPs, referring to the IMF’s latest report.

In comments on Wednesday, Sapin suggested that Paris was aligned with the IMF on the debt issue.

“The IMF is saying the same thing as we are,” he said. “We cannot help Greece if we maintain the same debt reimbursement burden on the Greek economy.”

He said his interpretation was that the IMF was not seeking a haircut on Greece’s debt, a prospect that Berlin in particular has ruled out explicitly.