France and Greece

Presentation

Political relations

France’s relationship with Greece, which is very close politically, was enshrined in a strategic partnership in 2015. The French authorities played a crucial role in the summer 2015 talks around a third support programme. France continues to provide Greece with assistance for the implementation of the reforms and also provides assistance with the migration crisis.

Bilateral visits

  • Visit by the French Prime Minister, Mr Bernard Cazeneuve (2-3 March 2017),
  • Visit by the President of the French Republic (7 and 8 September 2017). President Macron’s first State visit.
  • Visit by the Greek Prime Minister, Mr Alexis Tsipras to Paris (23-24 November 2017),

For more information, visit the website of the French Embassy in Greece: https://gr.ambafrance.org

Economic and trade relations

Despite the modest volume of trade (0.5% of our exports and 0.1% of our imports), Greece, with which we had a surplus of €823 million in 2016, represents our largest trade surplus in the eurozone and second-largest in the EU. It is our eighth-largest globally. France is Greece’s eleventh-largest customer and seventh-largest supplier, as well as its fourth-largest foreign investor.

Source: Directorate-General of the Treasury

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

Our cooperation is built on four bodies: the French School in Athens, founded in 1847 and dedicated to Archaeology; the Institut Français of Thessaloniki, founded in 1907 and France’s longest-standing Institute abroad; the Institut Français of Greece and its branches in the regions; and the Eugène Delacroix French-Greek high school in Athens. This special relationship is based on a long-standing and deep-rooted Francophilia, as illustrated by Greece’s recent entry into the International Organisation of La Francophonie as a full member (September 2006). Our cooperation fosters innovation. A Franco-Greek business and innovation forum has been held twice in Athens (November 2016 and 2017).

Other cooperation

Faced with a considerable increase in illegal immigration affecting European security, Greece requested support from both the EU and from France. Under the 2015-2017 programme for resettlements from Greece to other EU Member States, 21,500 people have been transferred from Greece to other Member States, including 4390 to France (second-largest recipient country after Germany).

Relations with the European Union

Presence in European institutions: Mr Dimitris Avramopoulos, then Minister of National Defence in the Samaras government, was appointed European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship in December 2014. Greece has 21 Members of the European Parliament.

Alexis Tsipras’ government expresses a will to reform Europe and is supporting enhanced European integration, including through a deepening of the Economic and Monetary Union, social convergence and a better response to the migration challenge.

Updated: January 2018