French President Emmanuel Macron and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis inked what they described as a “historic” defense agreement in Paris on Tuesday.
The agreement, said Macron, strengthens cooperation in the area of security and helps safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity of both countries.
It will help the two countries defend their shared interests in the Mediterranean and is also an “an audacious first step towards European strategic autonomy,” he said, according to Agence-France Presse.
“It contributes to European security, to the strengthening of Europe’s strategic autonomy and sovereignty, and thus to international peace and security,” he added, Reuters reported.
The agreement, Mitsotakis told the same press conference after the signing ceremony, with paves the way for “autonomous” European defense, “equal to its economic power.”
It cements Greek-French friendship, which “transcends the framework of EU and NATO,” he added.
Mitsotakis stressed that the deal with France will not affect the Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement that is currently under negotiation between Greece and the United States in the aftermath of tension between Paris and Washington over the submarine agreement with Australia.
The Greek prime minister said that new deal is “not antagonistic” to the Greek-US relationship.
He also said that “France stood by us during difficult times in the summer of 2020,” during Turkish challenges of Greek territorial rights in the Aegean Sea.
French defense and foreign ministers Florence Parly and Jean-Yves Le Drian, and Greek FM Nikos Dendias were also part of the signing.
The deal foresees the purchase by Greece of three French-built, state-of-the-art frigates, with the option of a fourth, and a delivery date of between 2025 and 2026. The frigates will also be compatible with the jets Greece is also purchasing from France. It has already ordered some 24 Dassault-made Rafales this year,.
The agreement also stipulates that one country with come to the aid of the other in the event of an attack.
A Greek government source told Reuters the deal was worth around 3 billion euros ($3.51 billion).
A memorandum of understanding for the three first-class frigates was also signed on Tuesday between Greek Defense Minisier Nikos Panagiotopoulos and the CEOs of defense contracting and manufacturing firms Naval Group Pierre Eric Pommellet and MBDA Eric Beranger.
The FDI frigates will be built at Naval Group’s shipyard in Lorient, where the second in the series has just entered production, according to the Naval News website.
The FDI HN frigate “combines the best technologies from Naval Group, Thales and MBDA, which will supply the ASTER 30 B1 and Exocet MM40 Block 3c missiles,” the report said, saying that it will also be fully interoperable with European and NATO fleets. [Combined reports]