UPDATE 1-Euro zone needs to be firm with Greece – France

* Lagarde says “great strictness” to accompany aid

* French minister says Greece has not honoured commitments

(Adds quotes, details, background)

PARIS, April 25 (BestGrowthStock) – Helping Greece overcome its debt
problems is necessary for euro zone stability but the bloc needs
to be firmer with members if it wants to prevent future crises,
French Economy Minister Christine Lagarde told a newspaper.

Greece yielded to overwhelming financial market pressure on
Friday, appealing to its European partners and the International
Monetary Fund for emergency loans in the first financial rescue
of a euro zone member.

Asked by French paper Journal du Dimanche whether it was
indulgent to support Greece rather than threaten to expel it
from the euro zone, Lagarde said:

“It’s a cocktail of indulgence and great strictness. We want
to stabilise. But that doesn’t prevent us from being firm, and
we will need to watch the results very carefully,” she was
quoted as saying in the Sunday paper.

The French parliament will have to approve the rescue plan,
and Lagarde said she hoped lawmakers would agree with her view
that solidarity with a troubled partner did not mean being lax.

She said the euro zone needed to be more rigorous in the
future in reining in its less disciplined members.

“With its incorrect data and unsuitable economic policies,
Greece hasn’t honoured its commitments. We will need stricter
control mechanisms to make sure we don’t fall into a bottomless
pit. All that will be the mission of the European Commission and
the IMF,” she said.

To make sure Greece reimburses its aid, the funds would be
released gradually according to its needs, she added. “In the
case of default on repayment, we will immediately put the foot
on the brake,” she said.
(Reporting by Sophie Hardach; editing by Noah Barkin)

UPDATE 1-Euro zone needs to be firm with Greece – France