Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis stressed on Thursday that the defense agreement reached with the French government was a “first step” towards achieving the “strategic autonomy” that Europe needs.
During a parliamentary debate on ratification of the pact, the President pointed out that it was a “historic” text and stressed that its approval would require a “protective shield for the country” and a strengthening of the “southern flank” in Europe.
The agreement, which was signed in Paris on September 28, includes the sale of three frigates to Greece – with the option to purchase a fourth – to be delivered between 2025 and 2026. The frigates will be compatible with the fighter planes that Greece wants to buy from France.
The pact also contains a stand-by clause in the event of an armed attack on the territory of either of these two countries. “All citizens understand the importance of the agreement between Greece and France, which provides armed support from the militarily strongest country that speaks of the EU, the only one in the bloc with nuclear weapons,” said Mitsotakis.
The President said that for the first time an “explicit and unambiguous defense support clause” had been included and that “we all know who these types of threats are in the region,” according to the Kathimerini newspaper.
The agreement was signed after the controversial pact of the US, Australia and Great Britain, known as AUKUS, which has met with fierce criticism in France.
Mitsotakis has also defended the deal in the face of criticism from the main opposition, who claim that the language about France’s military engagement is vague. “You know that the term territory includes not only land, but also sea and air, and the treaty is within the framework of international law and the law of the sea, which fully covers the positions of Greece,” he said.
“The agreement includes the obligation to help in the event of an attack regardless of the location. The International Criminal Court has ruled that an attack means not only an invasion but also every incident, ”he said.