After talking for more than an hour and a half in the Socialist Hollande’s Elysee Palace, both agreed that the European Union must change tack to focus more on growth and jobs and called for dialogue on the Greek debt crisis.
Hollande said Europe should show more “solidarity” after the election of the anti-bailout government in Athens, which he said “underscored that austerity as the only perspective and reality wasn’t tolerable anymore.”
“But there is also respect for European rules, which are imposed on everyone, France too, and it’s not always simple,” Hollande told reporters with Tsipras at his side. “And then respect for commitments that have been made in connection to debts related to states.”
France, which has missed budget targets of its own, has offered to help Athens in debt talks but rejects cancelling the country’s debts and said it would not take part in any anti-Berlin front.
Tsipras and Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis are meeting senior officials across Europe this week to seek support for a new agreement on Greece’s debt.
The 40-year-old Greek prime minister, standing in an open-collared shirt next to a more formal, tie-wearing Hollande under the Elysee’s golden ceilings, urged France to play a key role in changing Europe’s economic policies.
“The debt must become viable, this is what we must discuss,” he said, adding that he had put “realistic” proposals to EU partners in meetings over the past few days.
“I am convinced we can work together to get out of the crisis in Greece and to help Europe overcome the crisis.”
In a comment that some will see as aimed at austerity-champion Germany, Tsipras added: “All countries must work on an equal footing. In the euro zone there are not landlords and tenants, we are all flatmates.”