World Bulletin / News Desk
The memorandum of understanding was signed as French President Emmanuel Macron -- in Greece on an official visit -- told reporters: "We were, we are and we will be here."
The second day of Macron’s visit focused on economic issues, with more than 140 French and Greek businesses -- among them oil giant Total and construction firm Vinci -- meeting in Athens.
“Today we can say with certainty that the country is turning a page," Greek premier Alexis Tsipras said in his address at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre.
Tsipras said unemployment had dropped to 22.1 percent but insisted this remained unacceptable for an EU and Eurozone member.
Greece has been financially burdened since 2010 when it signed its first economic bailout deal with international creditors.
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.
The Greek leader said attracting investment was the government's main target in its efforts to lead the country out of the crisis and exit the bailout program in August 2018.
"Greece now presents a real opportunity, following such a huge reform effort," he said, noting that no other European country had carried out such extensive reforms in such a short time.
“You won’t regret it,” he told the assembled businesses.