Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will be visiting Paris on Thursday to promote investments in Greece and gain support for a new agreement with Greece's creditors that could lead to lower primary surplus targets as of 2021.
Mitsotakis will meet with France's president Emmanuel Macron, whom he has known since May 2016 when the French politician was minister of the Economy, on Thursday afternoon (Greek time). He will focus on promoting the Greek economy's positive indicators including state bond yields, the rising trend in the Athens Stock Exchange, and the general improvement of the economic climate.
Maximos Mansion sources said French investment interest is focused on energy, networks, construction and tourism.
They added that the PM's tour in Paris and other capitals this month will discuss the reduction of the 3.5 pct primary surplus target starting from 2021, an effort the government is committed to, in order to allow fiscal space for reductions in taxes and social insurance contributions. The PM is expected to underline the common interest of its partners and itself in a higher rate of development that will also contribute to the sustainability of Greece's outstanding debt.
The markets are confident in the reform program of the new Greek government, sources said, and the country is on track for a primary surplus for 2019. The government has also pledged to meet the target for 2020, but emphasis will also be placed on development. Part of the reforms the government will undertake is their fast-track adoption, removing obstacles from investing and freeing the economy from excessive bureaucracy.
In terms of his meetings in France, Mitsotakis will also discuss Greek-French security and defense issues, given the fact that Greece's borders are also the borders of the EU, therefore its voice on EU migration policy and border control should be heard. Greece is also the only country in the area that is a NATO and EU member and a stable point of reference in a volatile region. In addition, the region provides investment opportunities in energy, as the presence of global energy companies in the East Mediterranean and south of Crete indicate, the sources stressed.
Climate change is another sector for Greek-French collaboration, government sources said, along with renewables, recycling and waste processing. Mitsotakis is expected to express support for Macron's "green agenda", given the fact that Greece is facing similar challenges to France in environmental protection. He will also support greater involvement of the European Council so that the new EU environmental disaster response agency RescEU, especially for fires, acquires permanent facilities.
Overall, government sources added, the prime minister's message at all meetings with European leaders will be one of Greece turning the page on its past crisis and moving ahead with reforms under a government with wide popular support. Greece can become a stable point of reference, development and realism at a time of great upheavals and provide support to a democratic Europe, they said.
Mitsotakis will be accompanied in Paris by his spouse, Mareva Grabowski-Mitsotakis, who has a separate schedule in tandem with her husband's.
The Greek PM's schedule for Thursday is as follows, in Greek time:
16.00, Arrival at the Elysee Palace; joint press statements by PM Mitsotakis, President Macron
16.00-16.45, Grabowski-Mitsotakis schedule, including tour of Elysee Palace, meeting with Mme Macron
16.15, Greek and French delegations meet for extensive talks
16.45, PM Mitsotakis meets with President Macron