Francois Hollande urges Greece to negotiate quickly


French President François Hollande has urged the Greek government to quickly return to the negotiating table with its creditors, after talks on Sunday with EU officials in Brussels failed to reach an agreement on a future bailout.

The BBC reports Hollande has said there is “little time” to prevent Greece from leaving the eurozone.

Speaking during a visit to Algiers, Hollande said: “It’s not France’s position to impose on Greece further cuts to smaller pensions, but rather to ask that they propose alternatives. “We have to get to work… everything must be done in order that Greece remains in the eurozone.”

Greece is expecting the EU and IMF to release €7.2bn (£5.3bn) of bailout funds.

Eurozone finance ministers will meet again on Thursday. However, Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis says he will not present new proposals at the meeting.

Last week, Greece put forward plans under which the country is willing to increase VAT and give ground on the target surplus the country needs to hit this year and next.

The EU and IMF have called for Greece to run a primary surplus of 1 per cent of GDP in 2015 and 2 per cent in 2016, although Greece is pushing for 0.6 per cent and 1 per cent,respectively.

The Greek government is also considering increasing pensioner contributions to healthcare from 4 per cent of monthly income to 6 per cent.

Greece rolled over a €300m (£221m) payment to the IMF last week, and has rejected a reform plan proposed by the EU.

At the end of June a total of £1.5bn is due to be paid.