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Euro hits 9-year low on Grexit rumours - business live | Business | The Guardian

French President François Hollande said on Monday that "Greece alone" can decide on whether to stay in the euro, writes Anne Penketh, a Guardian correspondent in Paris.

Hollande was asked about a German report over the weekend that Chancellor Angela Merkel would let Greece leave the single currency, during an interview on France-Inter radio. But he said that the Greeks were "free to decide their government" in the forthcoming elections, and that "as for Greece remaining in the eurozone it's up to Greece alone to decide."

He noted that both Greece and Spain had "paid a heavy price" to keep the European currency, and that there had been a "radical" reaction from fringe parties. But he played down the danger of electing the radical Syriza party in Greece and Podemos in Spain, saying that they could not be compared to the risks from the extreme-right. And if the radicals were elected in either country, he added, they would have to stick to the commitments of previous governments, in particular regarding the management of debt.

He added that "the rules governing the euro," should be respected.

Hollande used the turmoil in Greece to reaffirm that the EU now needed to ditch its unpopular German-led austerity policies. "Europe can't be identified with austerity, now that the euro has been stabilised," he said.

Asked about the divergence between Germany and France on austerity measures, he announced that he would meet Merkel and the President of the European parliament, Martin Schulz, next Sunday to discuss "the future of Europe and Franco-German relations".

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jan 5th, 2015 at 08:19:21 AM EST

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