France–Greece relations

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Franco-Greek relations
Map indicating locations of France and Greece



Franco-Greek relations or France–Greece relations, are foreign relations between France and Greece. In modern times, both countries established diplomatic relations in 1833, 3 years after the Greek Independence. France and Greece, due to the strong cultural and historical relations, have had a friendly and strategic alliance for decades and today enjoy perfect diplomatic relations.


The Greek ambassador to France, Karapanos, during the discussions at the League of Nations in 1925
Painting depicting Greek military units in the WWI Victory Parade in Arc de Triomphe in Paris in July 1919

Relations stretch back to Classical Antiquity, when Ancient Greek colonies were established in pre-Roman Gaul, the most important of which being Massilia (Greek: Μασσαλία, French: Marseilles), located in southeastern France (which today is the country's oldest city, as well as the second largest, by population). From Massilia and other Greek colonies, Greek goods and elements of the Greek civilization, including coins, spread inland (see Greeks in pre-Roman Gaul). The Gauls in turn became a part of the Hellenistic world proper after the 3rd century BC, following the Gallic invasion of the Balkans and their establishment in Galatia in Asia Minor.

In the Middle Ages, French crusaders played a major role in the Fourth Crusade and set up several states in Greece following the dissolution of the Byzantine Empire in 1204. This began the period known as Frankokratia ("Frankocracy") in Greece. The main French Crusader states were the Principality of Achaea and the Duchy of Athens, while the other West European states were mostly Italian (Lombard, Venetian or Genoese).

Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius in a joint press conference in Paris in February 2013

In the modern age, the French Enlightenment and the ideas of the French Revolution influenced the main thinkers of the Modern Greek Enlightenment, such as Adamantios Korais (who lived in France) and Rigas Feraios, and formed the ideological groundwork for the Greek War of Independence. French troops also occupied the Ionian Islands during the Napoleonic Wars, paving the way for the first independent Greek state of modern times, the Septinsular Republic. During the Greek War of Independence that began in 1821, French Philhellenes played an important role, providing much-needed military expertise and propagating the cause of Greek independence abroad. Among the most important was Charles Nicolas Fabvier, the father of the modern Greek regular army. French ships also took part in the crucial Battle of Navarino, which secured Greek independence, and a French expeditionary corps landed in Greece in 1828 to help clear the country of remaining Ottoman garrisons.

Along with Great Britain and Russia, France became one of the guarantor powers of the independent Kingdom of Greece. This was reflected in Greek domestic politics during the reign of King Otto, where a French Party vied for influence with the rival English and Russian parties. Britain gradually assumed the dominant position in Greek affairs after the 1860s, but France still retained a measure of influence, especially in military affairs, where French military missions were called to modernize the Greek military (in 1884–87 and 1911–14). France also played a leading role in the effort to bring Greece into World War I, involving itself in the so-called "National Schism" on the side of Eleftherios Venizelos. French troops occupied Athens, seized the Greek fleet, and finally, in June 1917, deposed King Constantine I of Greece. The pro-Greek policies of the French government, however, were reversed after Venizelos' electoral defeat in November 1920, after which France supported Kemal Ataturk's Turkish nationalists in their war against Greece.


Foreign Minister of Greece Stavros Lambrinidis with French Ambassador Jean-Loup Kuhn-Delforge in October 2011

Greece has an embassy and a consulate in Paris, a general consulate in Marseille, and 11 honorary consulates in Ajaccio, Bordeaux, Cherbourg, Grenoble, Le Havre, Lille, Lyon, Nantes, Nice, Saint-Etienne, Calais. France has an embassy and a consulate in Athens, and a general consulate in Thessalonica and honorary consulates in several Greek cities, most notably the consulates of Patras, Nafplion, and Iraklion.

Bilateral relations and cooperation[edit]

France and Greece were allies during both World Wars, the Korean War and have never been adversaries of each other. The two countries have had a friendly and strategic alliance for decades and are full members of many international organizations, including the European Union and NATO. Greece has been a full member of the Francophonie organisation since 2004. There are regular high-level visits between the two countries, and frequent contacts between the two heads of state. France and Greece are co-operating in many fields, including cultural, scientific, judicial and military. Several Greek cities, and most notably Argos and Athens, are the seats for French Schools of Archeological and Historical studies, where students from both countries study and co-operate in the fields of Archeology and History.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]