Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is heading to Paris tomorrow on Wednesday 29 January, where he will meet with French President Emmanuel Macron. In their second meeting within a period of about five months, the two leaders are expected to discuss bilateral relations, developments in Libya and Turkey’s activity in the Mediterranean, such as illegal drilling operations within the Cypriot EEZ and the void Turkey-Sarraj memorandum, developments which have been condemned by both the European Union and the US.
The Prime Minister is expected to express his satisfaction regarding France’s support following Turkey’s recent provocative actions and reaffirm Athens’ willingness to continue to deepen co-operation between the two countries at all levels; political, defense and economic. “No threat against the Cypriot and Greek sovereignty will be tolerated”, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire warned in an interview in Kathimerini, with his country being among the first to formally condemn Turkey’s invalid Memorandum of Understanding with Sarraj.
Emmanuel Macron himself was also in favor of the Greek positions at the recent Brussels Summit as well as at the NATO Summit in London. Along with Wednesday’s meeting at the Champs-Elysees, the issue of boosting defense cooperation will also be raised, as France is in the process of upgrading its presence in the Mediterranean, with the joint deployment of the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier alongside the Greek frigate “Spetses” from Toulon all the way to the Strait of Hormuz, as well as the arrival of the French helicopter “Dixmude” in Piraeus.
At the same time, Athens expects France’s support for the reduction of the primary surplus target below 3.5% of GDP in 2021, the exploitation of the ECB’s profits and the eurozone’s central banks (ANFAs and SMPS’s) in 2020 for development purposes, as well as the establishment of the “Smoothing Mechanism” (the mechanism by which surpluses are transferred from one financial year to the next).
Immediately after his meeting with the French President, Kyriakos Mitsotakis will meet with representatives of the French business world on the occasion of the Greek-French forum on “Greece, a strategic partner in Southeast Europe. Confidence returns” organized by the Hellenic-French Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The forum will be attended by many government executives, including Chr. Staikouras, Ad. Georgiadis, K. Hatzidakis, K. Karamanlis, H. Theocharis, M. Varvitsiotis, Th. Skylakakis, Th. Karaoglou, N. Papathanassis, G. Tsakiris, who will present to the representatives of French companies the benefits of investing in Greece at this point in time. It is worth noting that among the French companies that will take part can be found L’Oreal, Thales, Naval Group, Gican, Vinci and others.
“Greece has great potential in renewable energy. French companies work closely with their counterparts in Greece through partnerships and the transfer of know-how. The forum on January 29 will highlight investment opportunities in the sector while French companies will have the opportunity to exchange views on their investment plans in Greece”, the French Finance Minister also stated to Kathimerini.
The same afternoon the Prime Minister will travel to Brussels, where he will have a working dinner with European Council President Charles Michel, with the main topic being the European budget for the years 2021 – 2027. It is noted that Mr. Mitsotakis is the first Prime Minister of an EU Member State with whom Mr. Michel meets on the Multiannual Financial Framework. This issue will be of great concern to the EU in the near future and it is expected that an extraordinary EU Summit will be held on February 20 to discuss the issue. /ibna