French prime minister promises Greece more help with reforms

June 3, 2016 1:34 PM

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ATHENS, Greece (AP) — France's prime minister promised Greece on Friday more help in overcoming its financial crisis, with investment and assistance with administrative reforms.

Manuel Valls met Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras before the two countries signed agreements to continue France's assistance in reforming central and regional government.

Greece is hoping to restart its long-delayed privatization program after eurozone countries assured the country that they will continue to pay bailout money and will improve the repayment terms of past loans.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls reviews the Honor guard during a wreath laying ceremony at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier in central Athens on Thursday, June 2, 2016. Valls has arrived in Greece for a two-day visit expected to focus on economic cooperation, among tight security measures. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

Valls' visit came a week after a trip to Greece by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who said Russian companies were also interested in Greek privatization projects.

France played a lead role last year in easing a dispute between rescue lenders and Tsipras' left-wing government that had threatened Greece's place in the eurozone.

"France used all its influence and all its weight ... to make sure that the Greeks remained in the large family of the eurozone," Valls said.

"To have the eurozone or (passport-free) Schengen area without Greece — that would be a different kind of Europe that we don't want"

Bailout lenders are expected Monday to approve the next bailout installments to Greece, worth 10. 3 billion euros ($11.5 billion).

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, center and Greek State Minister Nikos Papas, left review the Honor guard during a wreath laying ceremony at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier in central Athens on Thursday, June 2, 2016. Valls has arrived in Greece for a two-day visit expected to focus on economic cooperation, among tight security measures. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, front, and Greek State Minister Nikos Papas, right, pay tribute during a wreath laying ceremony at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier in central Athens on Thursday, June 2, 2016. Valls has arrived in Greece for a two-day visit expected to focus on economic cooperation, among tight security measures. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, takes part in a wreath laying ceremony at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier in central Athens on Thursday, June 2, 2016. Valls has arrived in Greece for a two-day visit expected to focus on economic cooperation, among tight security measures. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

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Source: dailymail.co.uk

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