French Finance Minister Michel Sapin  and Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis
French Finance Minister Michel Sapin and Greek Finance Minister Yanis VaroufakisReuters

France's finance minister said a solution to Greece's debt crisis inevitably passes through an agreement between Paris and Berlin, dismissing reported attempts by Athens to pit Europe's two largest economies against each other.

"There is no point in playing eurozone countries against each other, and especially not France and Germany because ... a solution that helps Greece while making sure it meets its commitments will have to go through an agreement between France and Germany," Michel Sapin told Reuters.

He said he was in close contact with German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, "to avoid any misunderstanding or tensions".

Sapin spoke a day after meeting his freshly appointed Greek counterpart, Yanis Varoufakis.

Greece voted in left-wing Syriza last month after the anti-austerity party promised voters that half the country's debt would be written off and Varoufakis is now leading government efforts to renegotiate the country's massive debt obligations.

Paris was the first stop in the economist-turned-finance minister's first official EU tour, which notably has not included a visit to Berlin.

France's socialist government seemed the more natural political partner to initiate negotiations for Syriza, a radical left coalition including Marxists, Trotskyists and Greens.

Under the presidency of Francois Hollande the French government has often openly criticised the German-sponsored European austerity.

Hollande has however taken a more aggressive stance after an August cabinet reshuffle that saw the ousting of those ministers more to the left, including notably Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg.

Views in Paris and Berlin still differ on several issues, such as the EU's budget rules, with France pushing for more flexibility.

After talks with Varoufakis, Sapin said that France was "more than prepared to support Greece," adding that Athens' will to renegotiate was "legitimate" and there was room for a "new contract between Greece and its partners".

He added that although France was against writing off Greece's debt, a new timeframe or terms for repayment were possible.