ATHENS – “France is obviously on Greece’s side on the migration issue and on the enlargement of the European Union with regard to the integration of some Balkan countries and already France and the EU have taken related decisions. For us, Greece plays an important role in stability and security in this particular geographical area. Greece and France are therefore very close and France wants to stay by Greece’s side, especially after the signing of the Defense Agreement between the two countries,” French ambassador to Greece, Patrick Maisonnave, said while speaking to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA) on the sidelines of his visit to the northern Greek city of Alexandroupolis.
He noted that “migration is an issue that we are following very closely, especially in the region (of Evros) because here are the land borders, not only of Greece but also of the EU and Turkey.”
Maisonnave stated that France, as a NATO member, is also concerned about what is happening in Southeastern Europe. Regarding the war in Ukraine, he noted that what we have seen so far is the unanimous response of the Europeans to the Russian attack. “As far as France is concerned, what we understand is that Greece is playing and will continue to play an increasingly large role in matters of security and defence here in the region, but also in the matter of energy security.”
With reference to the growth potential and the role that Alexandroupolis is called upon to play, the French ambassador, referring to the information provided to him by the management of the Port Authority during Monday’s meetings, along with the mayor of the city Yannis Zamboukis and the deputy governor of Evros, Dimitris Petrovics, and noted: “We talked about political, strategic, defence issues as well as the potential of the city of Alexandroupolis and they explained to me what its role might be in relation to the port and the airport, as well as the geopolitical role of the region in relation to its proximity to Turkey.”
He expressed his satisfaction with the increasingly important role of the specific area of Thrace, “thanks to the development of the port and the airport in the future. There are many stakes here, of an energy nature as well as security and defence issues. So I have no doubt, since we are talking about security and defence issues, that in the coming years we will see more and more ships of the French navy docking here in Alexandroupolis.”
Regarding the investment interest presented by Alexandroupolis, the French ambassador said: “I am here to explore the possibilities for cooperation between French companies and economic entities in the region of Thrace. Today I visited a company that is successfully operating in the field of electronics and in the evening I will have dinner with local businessmen. They are important economic factors for the development of the city and the wider region. Tourism, the processing of waste, the project of the railway connection of the city with Thessaloniki, Kavala and also the northern axis (Bulgaria and Romania), are sectors that could be the object of cooperation between French and Greek companies… There is alot happening in northern Greece, which has again attracted France’s interest”.