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French economy minister upbeat on new Greek proposals

French economy minister upbeat on new Greek proposals

PARIS: Greece’s last-minute proposals to secure an aid deal could meet the expectations of the country’s euro zone partners, French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron said, adding that Athens’ long-term debt was unsustainable.

Greece’s last-minute proposals to secure an aid deal could meet the expectations of the country’s euro zone partners, French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron said on Friday, adding that Athens’ long-term debt was unsustainable.

Speaking at a conference during a visit to Madrid, he said he was reasonably optimistic a deal would now be reached.

There have been several significant changes that have been proposed by the Greek government that allow us to think that the level of reforms are of a nature that could meet expectations,” Macron said.

Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras offered its EU and IMF creditors concessions shortly before midnight on Thursday to try to save the country from bankruptcy, including plans for more tax hikes and pension reforms.

Greece’s parliament votes on the proposals on Friday, while the lenders’ backing is crucial for euro zone leaders to support the plan at a summit on Sunday.

Macron said discussions needed to broach the issue of restructuring Greece’s sovereign debt which he said was clearly unsustainable in the long term.

France is the most powerful country among the group of euro zone states that have been pressing hard for a deal to keep Greece inside the euro zone, while a second group led by Germany has been more sceptical.