Debt and investments the focus of PM’s visit to Paris, gov’t sources say

The prime minister’s stopover in Paris on the way back from Lisbon was not a “holiday” but mainly focused on finding solutions for Greece’s debt and efforts to attract foreign investment, government sources said, in reply to main opposition New Democracy’s criticism.

Responding to ND’s claim that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had used the state aircraft “to go on holiday,” the government issued a detailed announcement on Saturday stressing that the prime minister “has a heavy schedule, both in Greece and abroad, which does not permit him to take time off.”

“To put an end to the speculation and for people to know they are dealing with common slanderers…The prime minister, accompanied by Minister of State and government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos and the government general secretary Mihalis Kalogirou, after the end of the Southern EU countries Summit in Lisbon where he stayed from January 27-29, made a stop of a few hours in Paris of which both the Greek Embassy and the French government were informed,” the sources said.

During this time, the prime minister had meetings with the head of L’Oreal, who is preparing to make a major investment in Greece, representatives of the Rothschild investment bank and other investors before returning to Athens on Monday, the sources said.

ND’s press office had accused the prime minister of using the state aircraft to visit Paris accompanied by his family when he should be returning from Lisbon and of “living large” at the tax-payers’ expense. If the prime minister had gone to visit investors, he would have announced this in advance, ND added.

“Now SYRIZA’s MPs and the Greek people know why Mr. Tsipras is so anxious to stay in power. It’s a good life for him but very hard for the Greek people,” the announcement added.