French President Nicolas Sarkozy met German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Paris today as Greece’s interim prime minister, Lucas Papademos, prepared to negotiate with the so-called troika of international lenders in Athens for a second day. A gathering of Greek political leaders was delayed until tomorrow as they struggled for a unified response.
“I can’t quite understand why we need a few more days,” Merkel said today in a joint briefing with Sarkozy. “Time is running out.”
With Greece’s stability at stake, a tentative consensus yesterday among party leaders on an accord framework marked a step forward as Athens played host to parallel domestic and international negotiations while persuading Greece’s private creditors to accept bigger writedowns on their debt holdings.
“An agreement has never been so close, neither for private nor public creditors,” Sarkozy said. “We have to conclude it.”
The leaders of Europe’s two biggest economies proposed setting up an account for Greece’s interest payments to guarantee lenders are paid. Sarkozy said in a later joint interview that he and Merkel are working “hand-in-hand” to prevent a Greek default.
CONTINUED at Bloomberg.