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Press Office

Athens, 9 December 2021

Meeting of President of Hellenic Parliament with President of French Senate

The determination of Greek-French cooperation in the defence sector for the defence of peace and security in the Southeastern Mediterranean was praised by the President of the Hellenic Parliament Constantine Tassoulas, as he was welcoming the President of the Senate of the French National Assembly Gérard Larcher who is visiting our country accompanied by a French delegation. Mr Tassoulas underlined that this “strong and close relationship between the two countries and Parliaments will be further intensified”.

For his part, the President of the French Senate stressed the need for the strategic partnership between Greece and France to not be limited only to defence issues, extremely important though they are, but to expand to enhanced economic cooperation that will provide further impetus to the “extraordinary growth” in Greece “after so many difficulties”. At the same time, Mr Larcher praised our country “for its firm stance” on the way it handled the migration issue “always with respect for human rights”.

Statement by the President of the Hellenic Parliament

Welcoming the President of the Senate of the French Republic, the President of the Parliament said the following: “It is with great joy and with even greater honour that we welcome today to the Hellenic Parliament H.E. the President of the Senate of France, a country dear to us, Mr Gérard Larcher, along with his accompanying delegation of senators and associates in the Senate and our friend the Ambassador of France.

Mr President, the Hellenic Parliament is surrounded by France. Across from the Parliament building is the National Garden, the first prominent agronomist of which was François Barault. Across from us, on the other side is the French Embassy and nearby is also the National Gallery which hosts one hundred works of art from the Louvre. Inside the Hellenic Parliament, which is currently debating a very interesting bill on environmental protection, the phasing-out of lignite-based power production, there is an exceptional work of art, sent to us by the French National Assembly, by the President Mr Richard Ferrand, which depicts the School of Athens and expresses ancient Greek wisdom.

All of this is complemented by a very important political initiative of Greece, which was sealed here, in Parliament, the political initiative to conclude a defence and mutual assistance agreement with the French Republic. An initiative taken recently in Paris by the French President and the Greek Prime Minister.

The determination of the French-Greek cooperation in the defence and security sector is personified in the wonderful painting from France that we are hosting these days at the National Gallery, the painting by Antoine Gros “Bonaparte on the bridge at Arcole”. The determination on the face of  27-year old Bonaparte is something that we admire from an artistic point of view, but politically speaking, this very determination is present in the common decision by our countries to defend peace and security in the Southeastern Mediterranean.

I had the pleasure of meeting you in November 2019 in Strasbourg, where we discussed issues concerning the two countries and I am glad that these issues have moved forward and that today Greece and France are more united than ever. And I am certain that your presence here, with the meeting that you had a short while ago with Prime Minister Mitsotakis, with your visit tomorrow in Chios and with all the contacts that you will have, this strong and close relationship between our countries and parliaments will be further intensified.

With these thoughts, Mr President, I welcome you and your esteemed delegation to the Hellenic Parliament.”

Statement by the President of the Senate of the French Republic

For his part, the President of the French Senate underlined that “the meaning of this visit refers to the strategic partnership between Greece and France, something that the two governments wanted and for which your Parliament voted and certainly our Parliament approves”.

As he pointed out, “we are in Athens and we are discussing vital, central issues that concern us, in which the Friendship Groups could be particularly useful. We could perhaps lay the foundations in the same way we have done so with other Parliaments in Europe, thus allowing our two Assemblies to work together with your Parliament, as we do with Germany, Austria etc. so as to have, I would say, a technical collaboration on the one hand. On the other hand, we could also have a political cooperation on the control of subsidiarity, a very significant issue, i.e. on the role of national Parliaments in building Europe. And, of course, we could work together on this strategic agreement between the Defence, Foreign Affairs and Armed Forces Committees.”

Mr Larcher emphasised that “this strategic partnership that we are discussing should not be limited to issues of defence. Of course, this cooperation in the defence sector plays a significant role and we do not exclude NATO. It is extremely important. But I am also referring to another relationship, that of enhanced economic cooperation. Today we discussed this both with your Prime Minister and with the President of the Greek-French Chamber of Commerce and concluded that precisely those relations need to be established that will enhance the excellent growth of your country, after facing so many difficulties.”

The President of the French Senate will travel to Chios tomorrow along with the Deputy Chairman of the Legislative Committee, who is also the rapporteur on asylum and migration and in view of the visit, referring to migration, stressed that “for two years Greece has shown exceptional stability in its stance, while respecting all human rights”. As he said “another reason why we want to conduct this visit is that next week we will travel to Lithuania to witness up close a migrant issue which is quite serious, on the border with Belarus. So we will use your experience and the experience I gained from the discussions with the head of FRONTEX and this way the French Presidency will have many things to base its work on”.

The meeting of the President of the Hellenic Parliament with the President of the French Senate was attended by:

From the Hellenic Parliament, the Chairman of the Greece-France Parliamentary Friendship Group Christodoulos Stefanadis, the Chairman of the Standing Committee on National Defence and Foreign Affairs Konstantinos Gioulekas, the 1st Deputy Chairman of the Special Standing Committee on European Affairs Dimitrios Kairidis. Present at the meeting were also the Secretary General of the Hellenic Parliament Georgios Mylonakis, the Special Secretary Vasileios Bagiokos and the Diplomatic Advisor of the President of the Parliament Constantine Economides.

On behalf of the French Senate, the Chairman of the European Affairs Committee Jean François Rapin, the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Armed Forces Committee Christian Cambon, the Chairman of the France-Greece Parliamentary Friendship Group Didier Marie, the Deputy Chair of the Legislative Committee Philippe Bonnnecarrere, as well as the Diplomatic Advisor of the President of the French Senate Hubert de Canson and the Special Advisor Patrick Day.









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