July 11, 2015 / 11:20 AM / 4 years ago

Greece needs debt relief, France's Macron tells German newspaper

French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron attends a conference in Madrid, Spain, July 10, 2015. REUTERS/Andrea Comas

BERLIN (Reuters) - A bailout package for Greece needs to include a reduction in the country’s debt burden, French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron told German daily Die Welt in an interview published on Saturday.

The German government has resisted a restructuring of Greece’s debts, with Chancellor Angela Merkel opposing a “classic haircut” and the finance ministry saying Berlin would not accept any form of debt reduction that would lower its real value.

But Macron insisted the burden must be eased.

“It is necessary to reduce the debt burden so that the Greek economy does not go under,” he told Die Welt.

Outlining the path to solving the Greek problem, Macron said structural reforms needed to be deepened, adding: “More competition doesn’t mean saving more!”

Investment was also essential to supporting growth in Greece, said.

“Not to try everything possible to keep Greece in the euro zone would be to accept a step backwards in Europe,” Macron said.

Euro zone finance ministers meet in Brussels at 3 p.m. (1300 GMT) on Saturday to discuss an assessment of Athens’ latest reform proposals made by European Commission, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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