NEWS

Gov’t hopes for support from Hollande on reforms, debt

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French President Francois Hollande is due in Athens on Thursday afternoon for a two-day visit during which he is expected to express support for Greece’s reform drive and interest in investments.

Government spokeswoman Olga Gerovasili described the visit as of “high political symbolism” and expectations were high amid the ranks of the government that Hollande, widely regarded as an ally of Greece, would issue a strong statement of support.

Traveling with a delegation of top government officials and entrepreneurs, Hollande is expected to demonstrate France’s interest in joining Greece’s privatization program.

After meeting President Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Thursday evening, he is to meet on Friday morning with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras before delivering a speech in Parliament which is expected to touch on Greece’s reform efforts, the country’s debt and the refugee crisis.

There are hopes that a strong statement by Hollande on Greece’s debt could spur a discussion about relief.

According to government officials, Tsipras and Hollande will sign a declaration after their talks.

The pact is expected to foresee France offering technical know-how in public administration, taxation and reforms; a boosting of bilateral trade; and closer cooperation in technology, infrastructure, tourism, agriculture, education and culture.