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GreekReporter.comGreek NewsGreece Ratifies Defense Pact with France After Tense Debate

Greece Ratifies Defense Pact with France After Tense Debate

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Ruling New Democracy MP’s applaud PM Mitsotakis after the defense pact with France was ratified on Thursday. Credit: AMNA

The Greece-France strategic defense collaboration agreement was ratified in a parliamentary vote on Thursday evening. There were 191 votes in favor and 109 against the new pact.

The ruling New Democracy, Movement for Change (KINAL) and Greek Solution parties approved the agreement, as did independent MP Konstantina Adamou, while main opposition SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance, Greece’s Communist Party (KKE) and MeRA25 voted against it.

The deal, signed in Paris on September 28, states that Greece will buy three advanced frigates, with an option for 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 includes a clause for mutual assistance in case of armed attack against the territory of one of the two.

“This historic text is put to parliament for consideration, making today’s debate a historic debate as its ratification means the protection of Greece, the strengthening of the south European part of the agreement, as well as the first effort for Europe’s strategic autonomy,” Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said during the parliamentary debate.

SYRIZA rejects Greece – France deal

The vote came after an acrimonious debate, during which Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis lambasted SYRIZA for its continued opposition to the agreement.

The main opposition SYRIZA party, along with the Greek Communist Party and the leftist MeRA25, voted against the agreement, with 109 nays.

The leader of the leftist party, Alexis Tsipras, described the deal as a “mistake” and accused Mitsotakis “of shopping for frigates as if he were shopping ties.”

According to Tsipras, the new agreement moved away from the country’s previous defense doctrine of “being a pillar of stability and security in the region,” while he also raised the issue of its cost raising questions about the size “of the final bill.”

“For the first time it is clearly stipulated that there be military assistance in the event of a third party attacking one of the two states. And we all know who is threatening whom with a casus belli in the Mediterranean,” Mitsotakis told lawmakers, defending the agreement, in a clear reference to Turkey.

The Greek premier stressed that acquiring the three Belharra frigates were an ardent desire of our Navy and “now Greece will have surface ships worthy of our Greek captains for the next 30 years.”

“The first Rafale (fighter aircraft) will arrive in Tanagra before the end of the year. In addition, there are agreements with Egypt and Italy on maritime zones, there is also an agreement with the United Arab Emirates with a corresponding mutual defense clause, relations with Israel and the extension of the defense agreement with the United States for the next five years,” he said.

Mitsotakis described as “very important” the “Euro-Atlantic dimension of the agreement, but also the strengthening of the European framework” as “this agreement is fully compatible with the Franco-German Aachen agreement”.

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