France’s President Emmanuel Macron welcomed Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to the Elysee Palace in Paris on Thursday.
“I know you became Prime Minister only a few weeks ago, but that the relationship of our countries is very important to you. When Greece was in crisis, France’s support was important. This does not take away the great courage shown by the Greek people and their decision to remain in the Eurozone,” said Macron during the joint press conference with Mitsotakis.
As reported previously, the Greek PM was in Paris to garner investment interest for Greece and a better deal with the country’s creditors over the surplus targets.
“France is a strong country and a steady friend of Greece, with long-term relations over hundreds of years, including helping in the Greek Revolution of 1821” noted the Greek Prime Minister who then extended an invitation to French business owners to join Greece’s development push. He said that in a new European landscape Europe should protect its citizens, and reiterated President Macron’s request that a permanent civil protection mechanism be set up in the EU.
The French President emphasised that France believes in a unified front at EU level to face joint challenges. The new strategic agenda for Europe will be discussed as soon as the new European Commission convenes, he said, noting that its priorities should be growth, fighting unemployment, and a common eurozone budget.
France wants to strengthen defence, he said, adding that “I want to express our solidarity in terms of Turkey’s activities in Cyprus’ EEZ” and he called for more collaboration on this issue. He also raised the issue of climate change, referring to fires in Greece this summer, and said “the issue of the climate will be at the forefront” in Europe.