Eurozone crisis over, says French President

Eurozone crisis over, says French President

TOKYO - Agence France-Presse
Eurozone crisis over, says French President

France’s President Francois Hollande delivers a speech during a press conference at the French Institute in Tokyo. AFP photo

The crippling debt crisis that has ravaged Europe for years is finished, France’s President Francois Hollande has declared, despite high unemployment and lingering recession on the continent.

“You must understand that the crisis in the eurozone is over,” Hollande told an audience in Japan during a three-day state visit.

Hollande’s comments on June 8 came just a week after thousands of people took to the streets of European cities to vent their anger at the “troika” of international powers whose insistence on austerity is blamed for worsening their economic hardship.

There were angry scenes in Frankfurt near the European Central Bank, and in Spain and Portugal - two of the countries that have received bailouts to help them plug fiscal holes.

The troika of international lenders - the IMF, the EU and the European Central Bank - have imposed strict conditions on countries such as Greece and Portugal in exchange for bailout funds. In Greece and Spain the unemployment rate has reached 27 percent, while Portugal’s is forecast to climb to a record 18.2 percent this year.

The figures for youth unemployment are much higher.

Hollande, who was in Tokyo on the first state visit by a French president in 17 years, said Japan and Europe needed to cooperate to forge an economic partnership that would be good for both.