France, Greece sign defense deal; Athens to buy 3 warships

France Greece

PARIS (AP) — France and Greece on Tuesday announced a defense deal worth around 3 billion euros ($3.5 billion), including Athens’ decision to buy three French warships as part of a strategy to boost its defense capacities in the Eastern Mediterranean amid recurring tensions with longtime foe Turkey.

President Emmanuel Macron and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced a defense and security strategic partnership in a joint news conference in Paris.

“This partnership expresses our will to increase and intensify our cooperation in the defense and security sector based on our mutual interests,” Macron said. It will “help protect the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity of both states."

Greece will purchase three French frigates to be built by defense contractor Naval Group in Lorient, in western France. The deal includes an option for the acquisition of a fourth frigate.

Mitsotakis said it comes “out of national motivation to shield our country,” but also has “a European motive as it strengthens our common defense industry."

“Greece and France are today taking a bold first step towards European strategic autonomy,” he added, saying it's paving the way towards “a Europe that ... will be able to defend (its interests) in the wider region, in the eastern Mediterranean, in the Middle East.”