Leaders with shared views, desires and ‘will to change countries for the better’

How do you view Greek-French relations? Constantine Karamanlis had developed a close relationship with Valery Giscard d’Estaing, as did Andreas Papandreou with Francois Mitterrand. How would you describe your personal relationship with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis? I have great respect and admiration for Costas Karamanlis as a political leader, since he has all the attributes of statesmanship. In my opinion, Costas Karamanlis is more than a partner – he is a friend. We share the same views on what politics means, the same desire for action and above all the same will to change our countries for the better, to modernize them. And I believe we both have the same desire to give a new impetus to the relationship between France and Greece, a relationship that is rooted in history. It is based on a real connection between our two peoples. Our views are very similar on almost every single issue, particularly with regard to Europe. I plan to work closely with Greece during the French presidency of the European Union, which begins on July 1. In the economic field, France has been the top investor in Greece since 2006 in many sectors from banking to major chain stores, from cement to insurance and highways. French businesses have thus become the biggest foreign employers in Greece. Besides we share close and genuine cultural bonds, which lie at the core of the Greek-French dynamics. Film director Costa-Gavras set and created his oeuvre between the two countries and Vassilis Alexakis, who was recently awarded the Academie Francaise’s Grand Prix du Roman, has chosen to write in French. All of that is due to the strong bonds between us, also reflected in the fact that 300,000 Greeks are currently learning our language. The relationship between our two countries is already very rich, but I am convinced that we can give it a new, more powerful impetus. That is one of the aims of my visit to Athens. For example, France and Greece could do even more in Europe, but also in the economic sector, in strengthening the cooperation between our universities, or on foreign and security policy issues. As you see, I have great ambitions for the Greco-French alliance.