Greece buys three new warships yet to be built from France. This was announced by Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis on Tuesday during a press conference in Paris, Reuters news agency reported. The transaction value is approximately 3 billion euros. For France, the sale of ships represents a small unexpected gain after the failure of a dozen submarines to Australia worth 56 billion euros.
The Australian government abruptly canceled the purchase earlier this month due to new defense agreements in the Aukus Charter with the United States and the United Kingdom. As part of this, Australia will have a fleet of at least eight nuclear-powered submarines at its disposal. The failure of the sale led to angry reactions in France. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said France was “stabbed in the back”. France recalled its ambassadors to the United States and Australia to Paris.
The Franco-Greek agreement now concluded is partly aimed at improving European military cooperation. France in particular makes a strong case for this, in order to improve its position vis-à-vis the United States and China. French President Macron said the agreement contributes to peace and security in Europe, and Mitsotakis said the agreement “will connect the two countries for decades.” He spoke of a “historic day for Greece and France.” The contract states that the Greeks may purchase a fourth ship from France. (Norwegian Refugee Council)
A version of this article also appeared in NRC Handelsblad on September 28, 2021