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Merkel Urges Greece, France To Stick To Agreements

German Chancellor Angela Merkel
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has reaffirmed her hard line over the Greek debt crisis, saying it is "of the utmost importance" that Athens stick to its austerity commitments.

Speaking at a news conference in Berlin on May 7, one day after the two leading Greek pro-bailout parties lost their parliamentary majority in parliamentary elections, Mekel described the poll result as "somewhat complicated."

"But the most important thing now is for Greece to evaluate the result themselves," she said, adding that the "the programs already agreed upon with Greece will continue."

She admitted that this path "might be burdensome but it has to be continued."

Merkel also indicated that she is eager to host Francois Hollande, who won France's presidential election on May 6, beating Merkel's former close ally, conservative Nicolas Sarkozy, whom she had publicly endorsed before the election.

Hollande 'Welcome With Open Arms'

"I have called the future French President Hollande and we said we would work together well and intensively and we will meet very soon after his inauguration in France," Merkel said.

"And I might add that Francois Hollande will be welcomed with open arms here in Germany by me, and we will have intensive talks because the Franco-German cooperation is essential in Europe. And since we all want Europe to succeed, this cooperation will start very soon."

Hollande is expected to visit Germany shortly after his May 15 inauguration.

Nonetheless, Merkel maintained that the EU fiscal agreement that was agreed in March and is meant to increase financial discipline among the eurozone member states is not open for discussion with Hollande.

"We in Germany are of the opinion, and so am I personally, that the fiscal pact is not negotiable," she said. "It has been negotiated and has been signed by 25 countries. It has been ratified by Greece and Portugal, and in Ireland there will be a referendum on May 31.

"I think that the fiscal pact is right. And it is a basic approach in Europe that we do not change everything we have already decided upon after elections, whether in big or small countries. If that were the case, then we could not work in Europe."

Hollande has said he wants to renegotiate the agreement, which stipulates budgetary discipline and debt-reduction measures.

With reporting by AFP and Reuters
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