Greek state television ERT reported that the Greek and French leaders are expected to announce in Paris on Tuesday a major multibillion-euro deal for Greece’s purchase of French-built warships.
ERT said on Monday that Greece planned to acquire three French frigates from FDI – with the possibility of buying a fourth later – and three more corvettes.
Greece has already bought 18 French Rafale fighter jets and plans to buy six more as part of a program to modernize its armed forces amid tensions with neighboring Turkey.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who traveled to Paris on Monday for talks with French President Emmanuel Macron, said in an interview with ERT that “we are heading towards a substantial deepening of strategic cooperation between Greece and France”.
He declined to comment on the announced warship deal – which Greek media reported to be worth around 5 billion euros ($ 5.8 billion) – saying only that announcements would be made on Tuesday.
“I have no intention of entering an arms race with Turkey,” Mitsotakis added. “But there are key issues in modernizing our military after a decade of (economic) crisis.”
Tensions with its historic regional rival, Turkey, have grown in recent years over gas exploration rights in the eastern Mediterranean and over the waters between the two countries. Greece had announced its intention to modernize its fleet, discussing potential purchases of frigates with countries such as France, the United States and Great Britain.
Greek media have said that the deal Mitsotakis and Macron are expected to announce at the Elysee Palace in Paris on Tuesday follows an improved French offer. They linked the offer to France’s loss of a $ 66 billion deal this month to sell diesel submarines to Australia, which has opted to acquire powered submarines instead. nuclear supplied by the United States.