Greece wants to shield the country in the face of Turkish challenges and provocations and will buy two French frigates, media reported over the weekend. The deal was fixed during the visit of Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, to Paris and his meeting with President Emmanuel Macron on August 22.
The Greek side, apart from the wider defense cooperation of strategic importance with France, is also aiming at the purchase of the two Belhara frigates and thus on favorable economic terms.
In addition, it is a priority for the government to strengthen the Greek Navy and in this context the Prime Minister plans to further arm the Greek military fleet.
During a meeting with Mitsotakis with Macron in Paris, the French president asked the Greek prime minister what his intentions were on the issue of buying two Belhara frigates.
Mitsotakis responded positively to the frigates purchase. However, he pointed out that in order to deliver in 2023 the deal would have to be completed by the end of 2019 and the necessary payments in advance should be made.
But the commitment to keep the primary surplus at 3.5% in 2019 leaves no financial room for the deal to materialize. Macron then appeared assigned French Finance Minister Bruno Le Mer with the duty to negotiate the issue. Le Mer met with Mitsotakis in Athens on August 9 and discussed the issue ahead of Mitsotakis’ visit to Paris..
Le Mer, contrary to his original stance that any form of borrowing is virtually impossible, made the proposal that France can secure Greece the necessary guaranteed French funding to obtain the two frigates. Without giving any further details, the French Ministry of Finance pledged to return soon with an integrated program on the subject.
the cost of each frigate depending at its armament is estimated at 700 million euros.
For the order to be fixed, a down-payment of 150 million euros per frigate is due in 2019, notes newsit.gr.
It is not the first and won;t be the last French effort to sell frigates to Greece. Macron had also discussion on the issue with the previous government.
PS If it wasn’t for the Greek debt crisis and the primary surpluses, plus the German objections