Macron: France will continue to support Greece

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Macron, who wants a giant leap forward in European cooperation, pressed for greater financial solidarity towards the bloc's more vulnerable members.

In the historic speech Thursday on the Pnyx hill in Athens - the founding place of democracy - Macron emphasized the cultural ties that bind Greece and France together, and spelled out his idea for a more cohesive euro zone, warning that "sovereignty, democracy and trust" are all "in danger".

At the same time, he repeated Macron's view that the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) has evolved into an institution that can assume the IMF's role in the Euro zone.

The French president underlined the presence of French enterprises in Greece.

The euro zone is emerging from the near-decade-long economic and financial crisis that nearly ripped it apart.

Turning to Greece, Macron said the handing of the Greek debt crisis has been a European failure underlining the need for a revival of the EU. He then praised the efforts at reform undertaken by the Athens government. China's COSCO shipping, owner of the world's fourth largest container fleet, took a 51 percent stake in Greece's largest port past year.

In terms of bilateral relations, the French minister added he discerns investment interest by French companies in Greece's infrastructure projects, particularly ones involving transports, while pointing to a large entourage - roughly 40 - of business and corporate leaders that accompanied Macron on his two-day visit to Athens.

Macron promised a road map for the rebuilding of the European Union in the coming months, arguing that nations sticking together inside the European Union was the only way to protect citizens against problems including climate change and terrorism.

"I don't think that having the International Monetary Fund supervise European programmes is a good method. the credibility and sovereignty of Europe justified doing things differently", Macron said.

Tsipras, having opposed the tactics of previous governments, came to power in 2015 with pledge to kick out the country's creditors and halt all austerity measures, only for Greece to become the recipient of a third bailout deal. Macron urged the International Monetary Fund to show "good faith" in upcoming Greek debt talks.

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