MADRID (Reuters) - President Nicolas Sarkozy slammed his fist on the table and threatened to pull France out of the euro at a meeting of European leaders deciding Greece’s aid package last Friday, according to Spain’s El Pais newspaper.
The newspaper cited comments by Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero to members of his party on Wednesday as relayed by people present at that meeting.
A spokesman for the Spanish Prime Minister’s office confirmed the meeting between Zapatero and other socialist party members on Wednesday, but could not immediately confirm what was said at the meeting.
Sarkozy demanded a “commitment from everyone to support Greece...or France would reconsider its position in the euro,” according to one source cited by El Pais.
Another source present at the meeting between Zapatero and his party members and cited by the paper said: “Sarkozy ended up banging his fist on the table and threatening to leave the euro...This forced Angela Merkel to give in and reach an agreement.”
The European Union and International Monetary Fund agreed a 110 billion euro ($139.7 billion) rescue plan for Greece last week. But Germany, which must shoulder a good deal of the burden, had proven reluctant to commit itself to a plan.
Zapatero told his party members that France, Italy and Spain had formed a united front against Germany at the Brussels meeting and that Sarkozy had threatened to break up a traditional France-Germany “hold” on the rest of Europe, according to El Pais.
The Elysee had no comment on the El Pais article.
Reporting by Judy MacInnes; additional reporting by Sudeep Kargupta and Tracy Rucinski; editing by Ralph Boulton