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Greeks have right to decide future: Hollande

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Greeks have right to decide future: Hollande
10:59 CEST+02:00
French president François Hollande has backed Greece's decision to hold a referendum on whether to accept the EU's bailout plan as the country looks set to default on its debt.

French President Francois Hollande said Monday that a Greece referendum on EU's bailout proposals was a "sovereign choice" on whether or not to leave the euro zone.

"It is democracy, it is the right of the Greek people to decide what they want for their future. What is at stake is whether or not Greeks want to stay in the euro zone (or) take the risk of leaving."

French President Francois Hollande was speaking after gathering key ministers together early Monday morning for a emergency meeting over the crisis in Greece, his office said.

Hollande held a "restricted cabinet" meeting on Monday at 9:00 am (0700 GMT).

The meeting came as Greece looks seto default on its debt after PM Alexis Tsipras decided to put the bail out deal offered to Greece to a referendum.

As months of tortuous negotiations have failed to produce an agreement on its bailout, Greece announced Sunday that Greek banks and the stock market will be closed on Monday.

Capital controls will also be introduced.

On Sunday French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said there is a "real risk" of Greece leaving the eurozone if the Greek people vote against the EU's bailout proposals in a referendum.

However, Valls urged the Greek authorities to "come back to the negotiating table" after Athens broke off deadlocked talks on trying to rescue Greece's debt-stricken economy.

The president of the European Commission will make his latest proposals later on Monday to try to avoid a Greek default, the EU commissioner of economic affairs said, adding that there was still room to negotiate over the crisis.

Jean-Claude Juncker "will indicate the route to follow, I hope everyone will commit themselves to a way of compromise," Pierre Moscovici told French radio, adding there was still "room for negotiation" between Athens and its international creditors.

French Tourists seem unconcerned

Tourists who pour into Greece in the summer months have been told to take cash, but many show no sign of being put off by the crisis.

Holidaymakers leaving from Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport Sunday seemed mostly unconcerned.

"There is no reason not to go on vacation. Our only worry is whether it is going to be sunny," said Jean-Pierre, on his way to the popular holiday island of Crete, although he had taken enough cash for his three weeks in Greece.

The German foreign ministry recommended that tourists "take sufficient amounts of cash" when visiting Greece, keep tabs on the evolving situation and check for any updates to its travel recommendations.

After talks between Athens' left-wing leaders and the rest of the eurozone broke down in acrimony Saturday, Greece appeared Sunday to slide closer to a default with its EU-IMF creditors.

The ECB refused Sunday to increase emergency cash available to Greek banks despite a bank run being underway. Within hours Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras confirmed banks would close Monday and capital controls would be introduced.

For some tourists, continuing to travel to Greece is a way of showing support for the economically struggling nation.

"We need to show solidarity with Greece," said Frenchman Edouard Phillipe, who was flying to Crete with his wife for their third trip to the island.

"We really like the people there, we need to help them by continuing to go there on vacation," said Phillip

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