A parliamentary committee has given approval in principle to a bill opening the way for the purchase of 18 Dassault-made Rafale fighter jets from France for a total of 2.5 billion euros ($3.04 billion).
The bill was backed by lawmakers from ruling New Democracy, the center-left Movement for Change alliance (KINAL) and the ultranationalist Greek Solution party. Greece’s Communist Party (KKE) voted against the bill. Leftist SYRIZA and the anti-austerity MeRA25 said they would take a stand at the plenary sitting.
For the purchase and maintenance of six new and 12 used Rafale jets, Greece will spend 1.5 billion euros this year, about 400 million euros annually in 2022-23, 67 million euros in 2024 and 34 million euros in 2025.
The agreement, expected to be signed by both countries’ ministers in Athens this month, is part of Greece’s plan to boost its defense capacity during an ongoing dispute with neighboring Turkey on energy resources in the Mediterranean.
After a four-year hiatus, Greece and Turkey are expected to resume exploratory talks on the demarcation of maritime zones on January 25.