Helene Fouquet
Bloomberg News
Friday, March 19, 2010

March 19 (Bloomberg) — President Nicolas Sarkozy opposes Germany’s call for an International Monetary Fund loan to Greece, a French government official said, pitting the euro area’s biggest members against one another over a rescue plan.

The official, who declined to be named under government ground rules, said Sarkozy favored a European solution to help Greece and said the monetary union must act to restore investor confidence and shrink Greek borrowing costs.

“I want to be very clear: if it were necessary, the states of the euro zone would fulfill their commitments,” Sarkozy said in Paris March 7 after a meeting with Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou. “There can be no doubt in this regard.”

The comments, coming the week before an EU summit in Brussels, follow a shift by German Chancellor Angela Merkel toward an IMF-led package for Greece, which is struggling to reduce Europe’s biggest budget deficit. Merkel said this week that in the absence of a European lender of last resort, calling in the IMF “would probably have to be the way out right now if action were to be taken.”

Full story here.