Greece and France are innovating together to build competitive economies in rising Europe, building on the strong ties between the two peoples. This is the spirit of the 2 nd innovation forum "Mazinnov 2" (innovate together), which took place on 10 and 11 November in Technopolis and where Greek and French startuppers, students, researchers, entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to unfold their business vision for Greece tomorrow and join forces.

In an interview with the Macedonian News Agency on the occasion of the Mazinnov 2 organization, French Ambassador to Greece Christophe Chantepy explains that France is a leader in innovation, Greece has a very good ecosystem and that it is an opportunity, the traditional close relations of the two peoples to re-emerge with joint creation.


The "Mazinnov" map, signed at the end of the first forum in November 2016, already has 160 signatures, and for this year's event, more than 50 startupers have expressed the desire to be "adopted" by more mature businesses, are interested in "adopting".
Innovation always gives impetus to humanity, says the French ambassador, stating that the digital world is only a part of it. There are innovative ideas across the whole range of life, concerning, for example, society and art. And this will become the weekend "Mazinnov2 'workshops such as" smart city "and the link" art with business, "but also from" pitsarisma "of innovation chicks.


As a prime example of inspiration, Mr. Chantepy reports the Parthenon. It is not the first temple, but it is unique because it was studied with an innovative spirit so that there is a perfect result, he stresses.


In the wake of the visit of French President Emmanuel Macron to Greece, he says that his double objective was to support the recovery of the Greek economy - that is why it was accompanied by many powerful businesses - as well as the first overall presentation of his proposals on the future of Europe , which was made by Pnyka.

So far, no co-operation contracts have been signed since the visit, although some are in the works, he notes, not wanting to reveal them before they are completed.
Referring to the Europe of the future, the French Ambassador notes that "it must clearly show its citizens that it can offer them protection and prospect." All of them agree and on this basis preparations should be made in the next 18 months for the European elections, for the Europe of the future.
He points out that despite the rise of the anti-European forces, when the words are over and the people are "before the decisions", they demonstrate "their strong commitment to Europe" and this was demonstrated in the recent elections in France and Germany.


Especially for Greece, she says that after so many sacrifices of the people, she has a "good prospect" in front of her, regaining her "autonomy" and wishes the Greeks not to change their character. "They are wonderful, they remain hospitable, they know how to go ahead and continue to exist," he says.
Following the entire interview she gave to APE-MPA and Nina Melissova the Ambassador of France to Greece Christophe Santepi
How do you rate the visit of French President Emmanuel Macron to Athens?


President Macron's visit had two pillars. One was to support Greece's economic recovery and the other was to re-start the European building.
The support for the Greek economy was the realization of a promise made during the visit of President Olland in Greece in 2015. Now we are in a state where Greece is emerging from the crisis and President Makron came with a large delegation of entrepreneurs, representing large businesses, medium, small as well as startups.
An economic forum, in the presence of Macron-Tsipra, was made before 200 business representatives, on the one hand, from France, and on the other, Greek and French, who are located here.


The second pillar of the visit was Europe. In his speech in Pnyka, President Makron unfolded his proposals for the promotion of Europe and wanted to send this message from Greece because it is the cradle of the Republic because the country struggled to stay at the core of the EU and the eurozone and the Greek people made enormous sacrifices - and continues to do. There is a strong European commitment from Greece.
When the Greek crisis began, we all realized that we did not have enough tools to deal with. We created them as we progressed as the Greek crisis grew in all its aspects. What we need today is a eurozone and an EU that fulfills the promises that have been made. European citizens do not understand the usefulness of Europe and we must show why Europe works for the benefit of all. We need to change everything we need to meet the expectations of citizens. At the forefront of expectations is a Europe that protects, with defense and security - we have seen many European countries hit by terrorist attacks - a Europe that also protects economically and socially. Europe needs to be armed to prepare for the future and needs investment, education, research. Our young people must travel and study in a country other than their own, because mutual acquaintance will give the sense of European citizenship that we want the young generation to develop.

 

On November 10 and 11, you are inviting the 2nd Innovation Forum, called "Mazinnov2"
In November 2016, we organized the 1st innovation forum. Firstly, why Greece and France need to prepare for the future. Secondly, France is a world leader in innovation. Thirdly, because Greece has an ecosystem very good. And another reason is that it is an opportunity for Greeks and French to renew their relations, which were historically very close. The Greeks and the French, who are today 60-70 years of age, have been in contact with politics, art, literature in France or Greece, as well as with the intellectuals of the time. Innovation is an opportunity to re-recognize the two peoples, especially young people, and to plan together the future.
After this forum, we signed a map we call "Mazinnov" we innovate together), with more than 150 signatures of Greek and French startuppers, entrepreneurs and research laboratories.

 

How do you organize the Mazinnov2 event and what do you expect from it?
We start with the "Adopt a startup" initiative. We propose to a startup Greek who needs help to be "adopted" by a Greek or French business or why not, Dutch. We already have 50 startups who have expressed the desire to "adopt" and businesses that are willing to "adopt". We will introduce the "couples" during the forum.
A second module is the "Imagine." Students of the French-Greek school will come up with a short presentation of a "project", a work they have worked on - for example a film - or describe what they think and dream. young Greeks will present their idea, their dream of tomorrow's Greece.
There will also be three workshops. One for the "smart" city, a more technical one to put on the table the tools that a startup needs to develop, and third, a workshop that links art with business. At the same time, startupers and entrepreneurs will make short presentations (pockets) of innovations in the field they are interested in. When we talk about innovation, our mind goes to the digital economy, but the truth is that the digital world is only part of the innovation. The Parthenon, for example, was an innovative work in its era. It was not the first temple, but it was the first in which the perspective, the shapes of the pediments, the columns were studied in such a way that the work seemed perfect. And it is so sweet in spirit and in sight that the eye does not want to separate it.
Innovation is what promotes humanity. An important innovation was the wheel, the printing press and so on.

 

How do bilateral economic relations evolve, especially after the Long Term visit?
France is the second foreign investor in Greece - with medium-term terms. We have more than 100 French group subsidiaries, which create jobs. We have business plans, big, medium, small, and President Macron has come with such powerful and many businesses to give the slogan "come back or come to Greece".
At the moment there are not yet signed contracts from the Makron visit except for one that has not yet been made public and I do not want to reveal it. But there is great interest in infrastructure, telecommunications, logistics, agriculture, tourism.

 

President Macron has proposed a set of ideas for a Europe of the future. Which of these can be done as it faces serious reactions?
Europe has always needed efforts and compromises, but it has gone ahead. In the last 10 to 12 years, however, it does not go any further. Two referendums took place in the Netherlands and France and the citizens said no, because they did not understand it anymore and did not want to follow. We must therefore return the narrative of European reconstruction in a way that is understandable to all citizens. What is important is that there is this lack of love towards Europe, almost all countries. The election results of recent years show that anti-European and Eurosceptic speech is gaining ground everywhere.
So we have to answer giving Europe a prospect and depth, to show clearly that it can protect us and it can give us a perspective, that is something that everyone agrees on. President Macron proposed that there be a "road map" and that everyone should agree on the issues to be opened. In the 18 months that remain as European elections, we need to organize for the issues to be raised in the public debate. President Macron put his suggestions on the table, and others have to put it. It was, however, unequivocal that the European venture must be deepened and that citizens must "embark" on the vehicle of the effort, rather than watch them from the outside.

 

A few days ago, France organized the "relocation" of 231 refugees from Greece, as part of the European decision to share the burden of refugee, which is not shared by all countries
We do not have to raise our hands up because some states refuse to join. France, which believes in promoting Europe, gives the example and puts forward proposals. President Macron is determined and has a creative optimism for both France and Europe.


Does it also have difficulties within the country to push forward the reforms?
There are always difficulties. However, President Makron said that we must move on to the reform of the labor market, he said it clearly in the election campaign and did it. You saw demonstrations of protest, from opposition, trade unions, it is normal in a democracy, but if you say "there are reactions, I do not go", you do nothing. President Makron is moving forward. And in Europe it will be the same. There will be obstacles and difficulties, but we have to overcome them.

 

Do you think there is good chemistry between Mr Macron and Mrs Merkel in order to move forward with the Europe of the future?
-The fact that there is good agreement between them is obvious. It seems, it sounds. In France, as in Germany, there was a fear that the anti-Europeans would increase their power. But the politicians in the leadership of the two countries want the European project to move forward.
What counts most is that European citizens are not anti-European, although the leadership of some countries appear less European. I believe there is a real European commitment. When we get to the end of the speech and we are in the face of the facts, in front of the decisions, the citizens say that Europe is not bad, and probably good.

 

How has life been in Greece for the two years you have been here?
The work of the French Ambassador in Greece is exciting. When I came here two years ago, Greece was leaving the "murderous" summer of 2015 and then the Greek government took decisions, the majority of the House voted for the third program, the September elections. After two years, a lot of work has been done, with many efforts by the Greek people. Now we are starting to see positive growth, unemployment - which is still too high - to start falling, budgets that are controlled and, above all, the prospect that in one year from now, Greece will regain its autonomy. It is a very good prospect. Working here is very satisfactory. And then, life here is wonderful, because the Greeks are wonderful.
The 20th century was for all European peoples full of tragedies, but for Greece it reserved more. After World War II, he lived the civil war and paid him very much. In the 1960s hope froze for 7 years with the dictatorship. However, after so many Greeks have passed, they remain hospitable and, above all, have an appetite for life.
I wish they did not change. Improve economic and social life, but not change anything in their character. They are determined, they have open eyes and know how to go ahead and still exist.

 

Read full interview here

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