White House calls on Greece, EU to find compromise

Press Secretary Josh Earnest during his daily briefing at the White House.
Press Secretary Josh Earnest during his daily briefing at the White House.PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The White House urged Greece and EU leaders Monday to find a compromise to keep the cash-strapped country in the eurozone, after Greeks voted resoundingly to reject an austerity-based bailout.

"The referendum is over, but our view here at the White House remains the same," said spokesman Josh Earnest.

EU and Greek officials need "to agree to a package of reforms and financing that would allow Greece to be on a path toward debt sustainability but also economic growth," Mr Earnest told reporters.

They should do so "in a way that would allow Greece to remain part of the eurozone," he said. "This is a European challenge to solve."

It was the first official US comment on Sunday's referendum, in which Greeks voted by a 61 per cent majority to reject a bailout deal from the European Union that required more austerity and reform, handing a victory to the ruling radical Syriza party.

President Barack Obama spoke by phone with French President Francois Hollande about keeping Greece in the eurozone.

"The two leaders agreed on the importance of finding a path forward that will allow Greece to resume reforms and return to growth and debt sustainability within the Eurozone," the White House said.

Obama and Hollande also noted the effort will "require difficult compromises from all sides."