The French government is ready to sell a new generation of frigates to Greece, and is even mulling the idea that some of them be constructed in the country, according to visiting French Defense Minister Florence Parly.
“I can tell you that these frigates (FDI) are top of their class and that they will be the spearhead of our navy. I believe that the acquisition of these frigates by Greece would be very good news for our countries,” she said on Monday in an interview with Kathimerini a few hours after the signing of an agreement with her Greek counterpart Nikos Panagiotopoulos for the supply of the 18 Rafale fighter jets to Greece.
“We will need to consider how we could plan a part of the production in Greece. This would help to strengthen the industrial and technological base of European defense, which I firmly support,” she said.
Referring to the strategic partnership between the two countries, she said that discussions on a bilateral security agreement are ongoing “so that we are ready to formalize it as soon as possible.”
On the matter of Turkey, she stressed that Ankara’s recent rhetoric of reassurance is positive, but it must be confirmed by deeds.
“We will be adamant about the issue of respect for international law,” she said.
The French minister also noted that the Hellenic Air Force will soon participate in the Skyros multinational exercise, which will range from Greece to the United Arab Emirates and India, while in February a Greek frigate will join the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier.
Earlier in the day, Greece signed a 2.3-billion-euro deal with France for the purchase of the 18 Rafale fighter jets. The agreement foresees the delivery of 12 used and six new aircraft built by Dassault Aviation over two years, starting in mid-2021.
Panagiotopoulos stressed that the purchase of the Rafales is a milestone in the defense cooperation between Greece and France, while underscoring that the Hellenic Air Force is being significantly strengthened. Parly expressed satisfaction that Greece is the first European country to acquire this aircraft.