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Europe

French President Hollande says exit from euro would be 'Greece's choice'

media French President François Hollande delivers a statement after holding a council meeting on Greece at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France. Reuters/Philippe Wojazer

French President Francois Hollande says that it is Greece’s choice to stay in the Eurozone and that France's economy is safe from market instability after bailout negotiations failed over the weekend.

"It is democracy, it is the right of the Greek people to decide what they want for their future. What is at stake is whether or not Greeks want to stay in the eurozone (or) take the risk of leaving," President Hollande said Monday.

Greece was unable to reach an agreement in bailout talks with their creditors causing a financial panic in the country. The stock exchanges as well as all banks in the country closed Monday to stop citizens from extracting all of their cash. The country has also placed a daily limit of 60 euros on ATM withdrawals. These measures will remain in effect until 6 July, the day after the country’s referendum on the bailout from their creditors.

However, Hollande says that France is still available to negotiate a deal with Greece to avoid financial disaster.

"Today, a deal is still possible. Tomorrow, that will depend on the answer the Greeks give to the referendum," said Hollande.

Speaking on France Inter on Monday, French Finance Minister Michel Sapin also said that the negotiations could resume at any time.

"Simply, it's up to us to say that there is a possibility other than exiting the euro," he said. "Greece's place is in the euro. The best situation for the Greek people is to remain in the euro."

Other French politicians are not so forgiving. On Monday, Florian Philippot, vice president of France's far-right Front National party, explained that by allowing Greece to stay he thinks “we have committed a crime that goes against common sense".

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy also called for Europe to remain tough in negotiations with Greece.

"If Europe, the euro give the impression of yielding, it's the credibility of the entire European system that will be swept away," he said during a visit to Madrid on Monday.

Calls for Greece’s removal came amid concerns about international markets as stocks around the world fell following the failed negotiations over the weekend.

Hollande also addressed these concerns Monday saying: "Today, the French economy is robust, much more robust than it was four years ago and it has nothing to fear from what could happen."

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