The Minister of the French Armed Forces, Florence Parly, will sign this Thursday in Athens a contract to sell to Greece 3 defense and intervention frigates and 6 Rafale fighters, within two contracts that constitute a new reinforcement of military cooperation between the two countries .
After tensions with neighboring Turkey, Greece decided last year to boost its military capacity and asked France for 24 Rafale fighters and 3 frigates with more than 5.5 billion euros.
In the presence of the Director General of the Naval Group, Pierre-Eric Pommelier, the French minister and her Greek counterpart, Nikos Panayotopoulos, will first sign the contract for the three frigates to be manufactured by the Naval Group in Lorient, in western France, which will be delivered in 2025 and 2026, with the option to purchase a fourth frigate.
Eric Trabet, General Manager of Dassault Aviation Group, was also on hand to sign a second contract for the delivery of an additional 6 new Rafale aircraft, as part of an 18-fighter deal.
Greece and France began strengthening their military cooperation in the summer of 2020 to counter Turkish attempts to explore for gas in disputed areas of the eastern Mediterranean.
Last September, the two countries concluded a strategic partnership in Paris, affirming their determination to strengthen a defensive Europe.
Ankara repeatedly criticized the Franco-Greek deal, saying it threatens “regional peace and stability”.
But Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told the Greek parliament in February that the modernization of the Greek military is aimed at “strengthening the country’s arsenal.”
The contracts will be signed Thursday afternoon, on the eve of Greece’s national holiday, on the Averov ship, the museum ship and symbol of Greek maritime history in Faleron, a maritime district on the outskirts of Athens.
Greeks celebrate on March 25 the start of the war of independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1821, and on this occasion the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle made a stopover in the port of Piraeus.
On Friday, the Rafale planes will take off from the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier off Crete to take part in the traditional military parade organized in Athens and attended by Florence Parly for the second consecutive time.