PARIS Dec 9 France does not think Greece will
go bankrupt but Athens needs to make a big effort to get its
public finances back in order, Economy Minister Christine
Lagarde said on Wednesday.
"I do not think that Greece can go bankrupt," she said on
RMC radio, but said the situation needed to improve, adding that
her Greek counterpart would visit France next Tuesday to discuss
"We (European finance ministers) have asked our Greek
colleague to put a real, efficient plan to rebalance and rework
public finances. We all expect him to do it, he has made
commitments with us and of course he has to keep them."
She also said that French debt was popular in financial
markets but France would continue to take care to ensure that
there was not threat to its credibility.
"By comparison to our partners we are very well rated,"
Lagarde said. "So France's signature is good. The market likes
our paper and we are extremely determined to be very careful to
the way we issue."
Asked about the potential size of a new loan that President
Nicolas Sarkozy is planning to fund investment projects, Lagarde
said: "It must be a figure which does not raise questions about
the quality of France's debt signature."
Sarkozy will announce the size of the loan, which will be
raised on financial markets, on Monday. The panel which put
together recommendations on the loan told Sarkozy it should be
35 billion euros, including 22 billion euros of new borrowings.
(Reporting by Anna Willard and James Mackenzie, editing by Mike