French PM Cazeneuve’s visit to Athens to focus on four issues

The visit of French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve to Athens will focus on four issues: programme review, investments, the future of Europe and migration.

Regarding the programme review, Paris has given its ‘vote of confidence’ to the efforts of the Greek government. It has expressed the hope that an agreement, at technical level, will be reached by March 20 and Greece will tap the markets in 2018.

“France has always been on the side of Greece. It has played an important role in the relations with the creditors and stood against their extreme positions,” government sources said in statements to the Athens Macedonian News Agency (ANA).

As regards investments, France has several times expressed its interest in Greece. On the migration issue, France is one of the most consistent countries in the relocation programme.

Cazeneuve will be accompanied by French Economy and Finance Minister Michel Sapin and Secretary of State for European Affairs Harlem Desir.

Cazeneuve will meet his Greek counterpart Alexis Tsipras at noon on Friday, at the Greek premier’s offices in the Maximos Mansion. They will then have a working dinner, joined by the Greek and French ministers of finance, economy and European affairs.

At 14:00 on Friday, Tsipras and Cazeneuve will hold a joint press conference and at 14:40 he will be received by President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopios Pavlopoulos at the presidential mansion.

Before meeting Tsipras, the French prime minister has invited French business PEOPLEbased in Greece to a breakfast meeting at the French Embassy in Athens on Friday morning.

He will then take part in a meeting organised by France’s immigration and integration service (OFII) regarding the asylum seekers that are due to be relocated to France in March, at the Novotel HOTEL in Athens. At the end of the meeting, Cazeneuve will be available to talk to accredited reporters.

The French prime minister is due to visit the French School and French Institute on Friday afternoon and devote some time to French correspondents and the journalists that came with him. At 17:00 he will attend a reception at the French Embassy, before departing for the Athens airport at 18:00.

Sapin is scheduled to have three meetings during the visit, including a morning meeting at 10:30 on Friday with his Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos and another at 11:10 with Economy and Development Minister Dimitris Papadimitriou. At 15:00, Sapin is due to meet Bank of Greece Governor Yannis Stournaras.