Greece to buy arms from France

Despite the cancellation of a huge contract for submarines by Australia, the French defense industry will be able to smile a little. Greece and France will indeed step up their strategic cooperation, said Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Monday evening, a few hours before the announcement in Paris of a military contract between the two countries.

“We are heading towards a consequent strengthening of the strategic partnership between Greece and France”, assured the Prime Minister on public television ERT during a visit to the French capital. “There will be announcements tomorrow (Tuesday) morning at the Elysée Palace” with French President Emmanuel Macron. The French presidency said for its part that the two men are to hold a press conference this Tuesday at 9:30 am.

Frigates and corvettes

According to the specialized Greek press, the French offer presented in Athens relates to three defense and intervention frigates (FDI, Belharra according to their name for export) and three Gowind class corvettes. Athens last year launched a call for tenders for four frigates and the renovation of its Hydra frigates. The French company Naval Group is participating and is opposed to the German TKMS, the Dutch Damen, the Italian Fincantieri and the American Lockheed Martin. Earlier this month, Kyriakos Mitsotakis had already announced the surprise purchase of six French Rafale fighters, in addition to a previous contract at 2.5 billion euros, signed in January, for 12 used Rafale and six new.

Greece’s booming arms program aims to counter Turkish provocations in the eastern Mediterranean, against which France is one of the few EU countries to have publicly protested in recent months. In return, Kyriakos Mitsotakis supported Emmanuel Macron’s call to create a European army. “The demand for European strategic autonomy is absolutely essential,” he defended on ERT. “Europe must become capable of acting autonomously”, judged the Greek Prime Minister, specifying that Greece and France would be “on the front line” to defend this initiative.

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