The Greece-France strategic defense collaboration agreement was tabled in parliament on Friday. It will be discussed at the relevant parliamentary committee on Tuesday, and will be debated and put to a vote on Thursday, October 7, at a plenary session. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and party leaders will all address the plenum on the day, as per protocol.
The Greek-French bilateral defense agreement "contains clear references to the status of the two countries as EU and NATO member states, and is not directed against other partners," the German Foreign Ministry said on Friday. Responding to a relevant question, a ministry spokesperson added that the German government is "well informed of the agreement between France and Greece on the establishment of a strategic partnership and cooperation in security and defense policy."
On Friday, Greece and France have informed the Committee of Permanent Representatives about the signing of their partnership agreement in the field of security and defence, and according to a European diplomatic source that "it will make the further contribution to European defence and Euro-Atlantic security possible." He added that "it is a strategic partnership that strengthens Greek-French ties with full respect for their commitments within the EU and NATO. No one has said that such a strategic partnership is incompatible with an alliance," the source added.
"We have concluded a strategic partnership with President Macron. There is the mutual defence assistance clause, which says that if any of the two parties is attacked then the other will offer its assistance. It symbolises France's commitment and its interest in the region of the Eastern Mediterranean," Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said, in reply to New York Times journalist Steven Erlanger during a discussion taking place at the Athens Democracy Forum on Thursday.
"We bought the frigates at the best price and with the best delivery time," he added, saying that the ships Greece has ordered will place the Hellenic Navy firmly in the digital age and significantly enhance the country's deterrent capability. "The specific investments are within the existing fiscal framework of the country and are in no way being made at the expense of our other priorities," Mitsotakis said, adding: "I have clarified that we will not enter into an arms race with Turkey. However, I repeat that we will defend our sovereignty and our territorial integrity".
Main opposition SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance leader Alexis Tsipras has asked the government to amend the wording in articles 2 and 18 of the Greek-French agreement, in order to support ratification of the agreement in parliament, party sources said on Friday.
According to the sources, Tsipras considers that these articles currently leave open the defence of the country's exclusive economic zones and continental shelf, as provided for by international law, while at the same time raising the possibility of Greek soldiers being dispatched to areas of conflict, such as the Sahel, "Otherwise, SYRIZA will be forced to vote against the agreement and let the government assume sole responsibility of these provisions that are harmful for the country's interests," the same sources said.