On Monday, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Greece has been in talks with France to boost their defence alliance.
French President Emmanuel Macron has hailed a new deal to sell Rafale jets and three new frigates, with an option for a fourth, to Greece as strengthening Europe’s independence as well.
Speaking in Paris at a joint news conference with Macron, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said that his country and France had decided to upgrade bilateral cooperation in defence.
“Today is a historic day for Greece and France, because with President Macron we decided to upgrade our bilateral defense cooperation, while expanding the readiness of our states for solidarity, mutual assistance and joint action in all fields. The signing of the agreement on the establishment of a strategic partnership for cooperation in defense and security not only reflects but reinforces a reality which is known to all that our two countries Greece and France have already developed a very strong alliance that goes beyond the obligations of each other in the context of the EU and NATO “stressed the Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in his statements on the strategic agreement between Greece and France and the purchase of Belharra frigates.
“The signing of the agreement on the establishment of a strategic partnership for cooperation in defence and security not only reflects but reinforces a reality which is known to all, which is that our two countries, Greece and France, have already developed a very strong alliance that goes substantially further than our obligations to each other in the context of the EU and NATO,” he added.
“Over time, Greece and France, France and Greece have ties that are permeated by common values. Belief in freedom, democracy, the rule of law, human rights and, of course, respect for and protection of international law, and in particular the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea,” he said and added: “Today’s development comes to consolidate this common prudent course. But it is also an initiative that responds to the demands of the times on our continent. Because today, Greece and France are taking a first bold step towards European strategic autonomy. We have the same vision with President Macron for the development of the necessary defence capabilities and the capabilities of Europe’s autonomous response to the challenges it faces.”
Mitsotakis also pointed out “the agreement paves the way for an autonomous and strong Europe of the future. A Europe that, as the president said, will be able to defend the interests in its wider neighbourhood, in the Eastern Mediterranean, in the Middle East, in the Sahel. A Europe that has the means, the will and the influence to guarantee world peace and progress, a Europe that will finally align its geopolitical power with its economic power.”
“And exactly in the context of this new strategic partnership between Greece and France after the 24 Rafale fighters of the Air Force, I announce that our country is buying three new French Belharra frigates for our navy, with the possibility of procuring another one. My desire to equip the Greek fleet with modern French frigates obviously has a national motive as it defends our country, but it also has a European motive as it strengthens our common defence industry,” the prime minister added.
Macron: We want to protect the integrity of our states by promoting security and stability in our region
“I have just signed a strategically important agreement on defense and security, which is the result of a work from July 2018 and mainly the fruit of the last 18 months that led France to commit to your side in the summer of 2020,” said its president. Emmanuel Macron of France during the joint statements with the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, after the signing ceremony of the Agreement on the Strategic Partnership in Defense and Security between Greece and France.
Mr. Macron stressed that last summer “we intensified the cooperation that results in the agreement to strengthen and intensify our cooperation on the basis of our common interests.”
He added that “we want to protect the integrity of both our states by promoting security and stability in our common areas.”
Mr. Macron spoke about deepening cooperation in strategic stakes in the military, which translates – as he said – from the Greek decision to acquire Rafalle aircraft and the decision to acquire three Belharra frigates to be built in France.
“This co-operation is part of the mutual plan of our commitments at EU and NATO level, expanding and strengthening relations for the protection of our region for the benefit of peace and security in the Mediterranean and the Balkans,” Macron said.