Yesterday, Prime Minister Mitsotakis signed a landmark deal with France’s President Macron to purchase three defense and intervention frigates (FDIs) for 2.9 billion Euro. The significance of the purchase was highlighted by Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos who stated on Skai News that “We are getting three frigates at a price that is lower than what we agreed to last year for two frigates.”
The purchase is historic in many regards: first, typically Greece purchases American or German military and defense armaments, and second, Greece has historically been taken advantage of in terms of price and quality of the armaments that were purchased. From the Greek War of Independence when an American company grossly overcharged the revolutionary leaders for warships, to the German exploitation of the Greeks in 2010 for submarines that were not seaworthy, Greek leaders have often been on the losing end of military purchases. In addition, Greece has spent the highest percentage of its gross domestic product on military spending of all the European countries only to get overpriced and substandard quality armaments.
Both Mitsotakis and Macron heralded the new deal as a step forward for Europe, with Mitsotakis claiming that the deal “opens the door to the Europe of tomorrow that is strong and autonomous, capable of defending its interests.” Individually, France and Greece stand much to gain. Mitsotakis expressed his confidence in Greece’s ability to defend itself against Turkey, while Macron used the Greek sale as a salve to the wound of rejection by Australia for its purchase of US submarines in the recently announced AUKUS agreement. For both Greece – and all of Europe – a new chapter is being written for military defense and territorial integrity. Stay tuned.