Former President of France, Francois Hollande said that an a phone call from Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos after the referendum in the summer of 2015, played a pivotal role in Greece remaining in the European Union.
Hollande who met with the Greek President in Athens on Thursday, said the phone call that he received from Pavlopoulos on that night was “historic” and the Greek president played a pivotal part in the resumption of negotiations for Greece to remain in the Eurozone.
The French President revealed that Pavlopoulos had put himself in the position of guarantor of Greece’s will to remain in the Eurozone after the referendum and assured him that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras would begin negotiations, but also that the opposition was ready to do what was necessary for Greece to remain in the euro.
That phone call helped to start a new round of negotiations in which the then French Finance Minister Michel Sapin had also played a decisive role, Hollande added, noting that all options had been open right up to July 13, 2015 when the European leaders reached an agreement.
Pavlopoulos’ role and that of France were decisive but his country would not have succeeded without partners ready to help, such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel who also played an important and positive part, Hollande added.
“The friendship between France and Greece owes you a great deal,” he said to Pavlopoulos, noting that the Greek President could be proud of the impact of his actions for his country and also expressing his own pride in the fact that France had stood by Greece at that difficult time.
Pavlopoulos, on his part, noted that Hollande “remains a great friend of Greece and a leading political figure in Europe” and also highlighted the valuable contribution made by Sapin, who had accompanied Hollande to the presidential mansion.
The Greek people will not forget that Hollande had the courage to acknowledge the huge sacrifices of the Greek people and the heavy price they had paid, even for mistakes that could not be blamed on them, he added.
“Through your stance, in addition to your friendship toward Greece, you also demonstrated your profile as a European leader since everyone today recognises that the defence of Greece’s European course at that time was the defence of the cohesion of the European Union and the Eurozone,” he said.