The government is seeking to make the most of the visit to Greece by French President Emmanuel Macron, who arrives in Athens Thursday, as aides to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras see it as a perfect chance to put out the message that Greece has finally turned a corner after years of financial woes.
According to reports, the prime minister’s aides are keen to harness the symbolism of the visit and make the most of the photo ops when the two leaders meet on Pnyx Hill – the meeting place of the ancient Athenian democratic assembly – to outline their vision for Europe.
Moreover, they believe that the meeting on the Pnyx is a golden opportunity to hammer home the idea that Greece is an equal partner to the European Union’s most powerful countries in the discussion over the bloc’s future.
At an event Tuesday to inaugurate the Ionia Odos highway, which runs down the country’s western coast from Ioannina to the northern Peloponnese town of Pyrgos, Tsipras sought to indicate that his government is business-friendly while also protecting the interests of the state.
“It is extremely significant that the works were completed on time and we managed to change the impression in the collective consciousness that the protection of the public interest and major projects are incompatible notions,” he said.
Tsipras also grasped the opportunity to hit out at the political opposition, noting that his leftist-led government inherited a road project that was “stuck” in a half-finished state.