France should lead way on EU reform: Greek PM

France should lead way on EU reform: Greek PM
Alexis Tsipras says he wants France to play a key role in reforming the EU. Photo: Martin Bureau/AFP
Greece's new PM Alexis Tsipras said he wants France to lead the way in bringing about political change in Europe after meeting the French President François Hollande in Paris on Wednesday.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called on France to play a key role in helping Europe return to growth, following a meeting with President Francois Hollande in Paris on Wednesday.

"We need a new accord in Europe for the return of growth and social cohesion, and in this effort we certainly need France playing a role of guarantor, a protagonist for this political change," said Tsipras.

The premier is on a whistle-stop tour of Europe to drum up support for his newly elected anti-austerity government's plans to renegotiate Greek debt.

His government has received a relatively sympathetic hearing in France, which has also pushed back against austerity demands from Brussels.

"France is a force for stability in Europe, and I think the stability of the European Union requires a change of policy — a determined turn towards growth," said Tsipras.

"I am certain that our partners want to listen to us and I am equally certain that we can work together to overcome the crisis in Greece and at the same time help Europe overcome its own crisis."

"We are not a threat to Europe."

Hollande said it was right for Greece to work closely with France, which he described as a "specialist in reform" — despite criticism from some parts of Europe that his government has done little to revamp its own struggling economy.

"We reminded Prime Minister Tsipras… that we are available to share our experience and expertise on certain reforms that Greece wishes to carry out, including fiscal reform, on which we are specialists," said Hollande

In the meantime, Hollande said the priority was more open discussions among Europe's leaders.

"This dialogue should take place in transparency and calm, and with a willingness to find a solution."