The Greek Parliament ratified the Greece-US cooperation agreement MDCA on Thursday night, with 175 votes for, 33 against, and 80 declaring “present” out of a total of 288 MPs voting.
Supporting the Mutual Defence Cooperation Agreement (MDCA) were the parties of ruling New Democracy and Movement for Change (KINAL). Main opposition Syriza voted “present”, while all other parties – Communist Party of Greece (KKE), Greek Solution and MeRA25 – voted against it.
Under the updated agreement there will be increased cooperation at military bases across Greece, where U.S. forces already have a presence, as well as in new facilities. The MDCA will enable the US to expand bilateral activities at Larissa, Stefanovikio, and Alexandroupoli, and sustain increased activity at Naval Support Activity in Souda Bay, Crete.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hailed the ratification with a Tweet:
I welcome the Greek Parliament's ratification of our updated Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement, a strategic touchstone in our defense relationship. #Greece is a key @NATO Ally, and we'll continue to build on our strong partnership and promote stability in the region.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) January 30, 2020
Approximately 7,000 protesters demonstrated against the agreement on Syntagma square on Thursday. The protest was organized jointly by leftist parties, students’ associations, and labor unions.
Protesters held banners with slogans such as “NATO and Brussels, killers of nations, down with the new order of imperialists” and “No to the U.S.-Greece agreement for the bases.”