Italy is Greece's foremost strategic trade partner and we hope that this cooperation will be strengthened further in the sector of investments, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said on Thursday in joint statements with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Corfu. The two prime ministers held a joint press conference after a meeting that kicked off the 1st Intergovernmental Conference between Greece and Italy.

The Italian premier said that this day brings very good news, with the signing of an agreement between Greece's rail operator TRAINOSE and Italy's Ferrovie Dello Stato Italiane and other investments.

Gentiloni noted that "the economic climate is changing for better and we must seize the opportunity," adding there cannot be a two-speed Europe, separated between north and south.

There is a great opportunity to give Europe new impetus, we can take rather significant and optimistic steps in the future, Gentiloni underlined.

Tsipras said that he shares Gentiloni's view regarding the possibilities arising for new reforms and changes in Europe, because, as he noted, we lived in a situation where everyone was pretending that everything was going well.

He stressed that there is a window of opportunity and that specific decisions must be made in the near future, immediately after the German elections. The usefulness of Greece's initiative in organising a meeting of Europe's Mediterranean states at the level of coordination, dialogue and conciliation was more apparent than ever, Tsipras added, noting that "this can today make a decisive contribution to the debate on the future of Europe."