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Francois Hollande breaks the diplomatic isolation of Greece

22 October 2015 / 14:10:50  GRReporter
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French President Francois Hollande is the first European leader to visit Greece since SYRIZA and Independent Greeks have been in power in Greece. Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann arrived in the country two weeks ago but on a working visit that was directly related to solving the refugee problem.

Francois Hollande is due to arrive at Athens airport at 5:00 pm and his schedule includes a series of meetings and events. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will meet him personally and they both will set off to the centre of Athens, where the French President will lay a wreath at the monument of the Unknown Soldier in front of the Greek parliament and Tsipras’ coalition partner and Minister of Defence Panos Kammenos will meet them there.

At 6:00 pm Francois Hollande will meet with his Greek counterpart Prokopis Pavlopoulos, who will award him the Order of the Greek State. The first day of his visit to the Greek capital will end with an official dinner that the Greek President will give in his honour.

It is worth noting that over the past two days there have been speculations in the Greek media regarding the participants in this dinner, stating that opposition party leaders have not been invited to it. According to the Greek Mega TV, however, the protocol of the presidency is very specific and the leader of the main opposition party, New Democracy, has been invited to the dinner. However, the Greek media report that as its temporary chairman Evangelos Meimarakis is in Madrid to attend the congress of the European People's Party, MP Dora Bakogiannis will occupy his place at the official table.

Other rumours had it that Francois Hollande would not meet with any other party leader in Athens but Mega has denied this speculation too, reporting that he will have talks with PASOK leader Fofi Genimata, and recent party leader and former Deputy Prime Minister Evangelos Venizelos.

Tomorrow's programme of the visit of the French President to Athens includes a discussion with the Greek Prime Minister, the signing of a joint declaration on cooperation and a joint press conference. At 12:15 pm, Francois Hollande will deliver a speech at the Greek parliament and will visit the Acropolis Museum with Alexis Tsipras afterwards.

A little later, a ceremony at the University of Athens will proclaim him honorary doctor.

Francois Hollande will arrive in Athens together with the French Ministers of Education, Finance and Culture, and Communication, and the secretary for European Affairs. Despite expectations, the arrival of Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy and his longtime partner Segolene Royal has been cancelled at the last moment. According to the Greek online edition, she will stay in Paris to participate in the annual conference on climate change.

Along with Francois Hollande, French businessmen will arrive in Athens too, including representatives of companies in leading sectors such as CAP Digital (digital transformation and competitiveness), MINALOGIC (mineralogy, micro-nanoelectronics, CNES (National Centre for Space Studies, which aims to cooperate with the Greek General Secretariat for Research) and the Aerospace Cluster (aeronautics).

Meanwhile, the news that beautiful Greek policewoman Evridiki Soulioti will guard the French President during his visit to Greece has become a major theme in the French media. The fuss began after the French conservative edition Le Figaro published the information under the provocative headline "Hollande with an ‘appropriate’ guard in Athens." The article even stated that, according to the Greek press, "this is a very nice gesture on the part of Alexis Tsipras to Francois Hollande in gratitude for his friendly attitude towards Greece."

The publication provoked a series of negative comments on the French social networks, and according to sources, irritation in the French presidency. Two days later the newspaper apologized with the following tweet, "Following the publication of a rough article Le Figaro apologizes to Evridiki Soulioti and its readers."

Several hours later, the Greek Parliament refuted the information that the particular police officer would be among the security guards of the French president during his visit to Athens.


Tags: PoliticsVisit of Francois Hollande to AthensAlexis TsiprasGreek PresidentSpeech in the Greek Parliament
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