Greek prime minister Tsipras seeks France’s support to keep debt viable

Alexis Tsipras franceThe new Greek prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, has asked France to play a leading role in shifting European policy towards more growth and making Greece’s debt “viable.”

Tsipras’ comments came after he arrived in Paris on Wednesday as part of his European tour to renegotiate Greece’s “bailout,” holding talks with French President Francois Hollande.

Speaking at a joint press conference with Hollande, Tsipras said his country was “not a threat to Europe.”

He said: “We need to carry out reforms in Greece, in our country, to become credible.”

‘Policy change’

“The Greek debt must become viable, I am convinced that we can all work together,” he said.

Tsipras added that France must “play a leading role for a change in policy in Europe.”

Hollande described the talks with Athens, where leftist anti-austerity Syriza party has just taken power, as “transparent.”

“Compliance with European rules and commitments binds on all of us, including Greece,” said the French president, in reference to Greece’s €240 billion debt.

‘Greater solidarity’

Hollande said he agreed with Tsipras that Europe “should demonstrate greater solidarity and work in favor of growth.”

“The dialogue between Greece and its European partners must take place in order to find an agreement,” he added.

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis had visited Paris on Monday and said his country wanted to reach a new deal on its debt by the end of May.

He emphasized that Greece was seeking to comply with European standards, adding the “well-being of all Europeans” was its priority.

His French counterpart, Michel Sapin, said France wanted a “new contract” with Greece.

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