France pledges privatisation and tourism help for Greece

City A.M. Reporter
FRENCH President Francois Hollande yesterday told Greece that austerity alone could not bring the country out of its crippling recession, and that he would help the stricken state with privatisations, economic reforms and improving tourism numbers.

“We must make sure that growth and jobs come back in Greece,” Hollande said after meeting Greek leader Antonis Samaras. “We need more growth in Europe. That is how we’ll reach our public deficit goals.” Greece’s government has been bailed out twice, but has struggled to meet the tough terms attached to the funding. Much of the problem has come from the collapse of GDP, making it harder to reduce spending and borrowing as a share of the economy.

The latest figures show the country’s economy shrank six per cent through 2012. Meanwhile unemployment soared to 24.8 per cent in the third quarter.

“We have to show the Greeks solidarity, support and also confidence that will allow growth to come back,” Hollande said, promising to help increase French tourism to Greece – visitor levels from the country are just half those of Germany – and to encourage French investment when state-owned Greek industries are sold off.