GB News panel savages Macron tantrum on Aukus deal
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Emmanuel Macron and his administration made no secret of their fury over the Australian defence deal signed with the US and UK, which saw France lose out on a multi-billion euro deal. Now, in a swift attempt to move on, the French President has hammered out a deal with Greece.
The new deal will see Greece committing to purchase some €5 billion worth of French warships and fighter jets.
There will also be a clause on mutual defence assistance, according to Greek government sources.
France had been also expected to put in proposals to supply new frigates to Athens.
On Monday, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who is in Paris, said: “there will be announcements tomorrow morning.”
He added: “We’re heading towards a substantial deepening of our strategic cooperation between Greece and France.”
This will mark France’s first move since the diplomatic row erupted over the Aukus deal which saw Australia rip up a submarine deal with Paris.
The move enraged France, which in turn urged its European neighbours to shore up their own defence capabilities in response.
This pact with Greece will further that agenda, boosting the French defence industry and advancing Mr Macron’s desire to push France into the lead of Europe’s military efforts.
Faithon Karaiosifidis, a defence expert and publisher of the Greek magazine Flight, said: “There is a connection with what happened with Aukus.
“France is taking everything in Greece and can come forward presenting this agreement on defence cooperation and cohesion as the basis of the European defence integration and the beginning of a European army.”
But it’s not only France that stands to benefit from the deal.
Greece has been embroiled in tensions with neighbouring Turkey over a range of issues, from competing claims over hydrocarbon resources in the Aegean Sea to demilitarisation of islands, sharpening its need to upgrade its military capabilities.
Prime Minister Mitsotakis said that Greece did not want to start an “armaments race” but the country had to modernise its armed forces after a decade-long financial crisis.
In recent months, the Greek navy received bids from six countries, including France, the US, the Netherlands and the UK.
France’s proposal is reported to have been the priciest, but it came with other, more valuable, bonuses.
Mr Karaiosifidis said: “This is definitely a political decision, not one taken by the Greek navy.
“The cornerstone of the deal is the defence assistance clause. One could not imagine something similar coming from the other countries.”
The deal will likely include six warships — three frigates and three corvettes set to start arriving in 2025 — with the option of two or three more ships in the future, according to the officials.
Greece is also expected to purchase six more Rafale fighter jets.
Greece has yet to formally confirm the deal, with government spokesman Giannis Oikonomou calling for “some patience”.
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