Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas was on a two-day visit (June 28-9) to Paris where he met with French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and gave a speech at the Institut Français des Relations Internationales (IFRI), titled "Practicing Foreign Policy in times of economic crisis: the case of Greece and the EU."

Kouchner and Droutsas discussed all issues concerning bilateral cooperation, as well as regional and international affairs, focusing especially on developments in the Western Balkans, and the Cyprus issue, Turkey’s EU accession course, the humanitarian situation in Gaza and the issue of the Middle East.

Addressing an audience of diplomats, foreign relations experts and academics at IFRI, Droutsas outlined the case of Greece and the European Union, stressing that the EU-IMF support package for the Greek economy is a loan - and not a bailout - which aims at backing reforms in Greece. "However painful this crisis may be for my country, I see in it a great opportunity to come out much stronger in every sector," he noted.