PARIS (Reuters) - French finance minister Michel Sapin said in a newspaper interview that it would be a disaster for Greece if Athens left the euro zone and that all must be done to avoid such scenario, whose full consequences were hard to assess.

Sapin also said that Greece, which faces demands for tax rises and additional savings, must make proposals that are “solid” and “serious”.

“We must find a deal allowing Greece to avoid an imminent disaster and durably return to employment, growth and investment,” Sapin told Le Journal du Dimanche.

Asked what would happen if Greece exited the euro zone, Sapin said: “It’s an unknown area. The size of the risks is unknown. So we must avoid this scenario”.

Euro zone leaders will hold an emergency summit on Monday to try to avert a Greek default. Bank withdrawals have accelerated and Greek government revenue has slumped as Athens and international creditors remain deadlocked over an aid-for-reform deal.

Failure to clinch a deal with creditors by the end of this month would see Greece default on a 1.6 billion euro loan payment to the IMF, making it the first euro zone member to go broke and potentially driving it out of the single currency.

On Thursday, Sapin said on France Info radio that it would be a total catastrophe for Greece if Athens left the euro zone but that France was doing all it could to find a deal.

Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by David Gregorio



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