Kammenos backpedals on contentious amendment

Kammenos backpedals on contentious amendment

A contentious amendment including offsets in a deal to upgrade the Hellenic Air Force fleet of F-16 fighter jets will be debated at the Parliament’s Military Procurements Committee following strong reaction from the conservative opposition on Wednesday.

“Let’s talk about this, so that all queries can be solved,” Defense Minister Panos Kammenos told the House.

New Democracy MP Simos Kedikoglou had earlier questioned the transparency of the amendment prescribing 230 million euros in offsets saying it amounted to “gross misconduct.”

Further adding to the controversy, the amendment was submitted to Parliament amid speculation that Kammenos, who is also leader of junior coalition partner Independent Greeks (ANEL), will quit the alliance over his objections to the Prespes accord.

Lack of transparency in the application and distribution of offsets has traditionally prompted allegations of mismanagement and corruption. The SYRIZA-led administration has in the past pledged to end the policy.

Meanwhile, pressed by To Potami MP Giorgos Amyras to clarify whether he intends to quit the government coalition over the Prespes name deal, Kammenos did not give a clear answer, pointing instead at division within the centrist party over the issue.

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