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BRUSSELS – French President Francois Hollande has come to the defense of Greece after European creditors pulled a recently announced debt relief package for the country.
Hollande said ahead of Thursday's summit of European Union leaders that "it is out of the question to ask for further additional efforts from Greece or prevent them from taking a number of sovereign measures that respect the commitments" that Greece previously took.
Days after a Dec. 5 eurozone agreement to approve some debt relief, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced a Christmas bonus for some 1.6 million low-income pensioners and committed to restore a lower sales tax rate for Aegean Sea islanders. The move surprised the eurozone creditors, who suspended the debt relief.
Tsipras said at the summit there's room for "a breakthrough, without blackmail."