The French minister for the armed forces Florence Parly has signed a contract for the sale of eighteen Rafale jet fighters to Greece (six new and twelve used). The sale is only the most recent sign that France has identified Athens as a close ally in the pursuit of French interests in the region.
Ever since the flare-up of tensions between Greece and Turkey over maritime disputes in the eastern Mediterranean, President Macron’s France has voiced its support for the Mediterranean country, while also dispatching fighter jets and warships to the region.
Parly has also revealed that a Greek Navy frigate will escort the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle during its deployment to the eastern Mediterranean. Furthermore, the French air force will conduct joint training activities with its Greek counterpart at the end of operation Skyros.
Last year, Macron had announced that Greece and France were pursuing a new “framework of strategic defence”, and it’s clear that, with the latest statements, the two countries are only getting started on defence cooperation as Greece looks to build up its military in the face of Turkish posturing.
France will also send proposals for new frigates to strengthen the Greek Navy, but it’s safe to assume that, in the coming years, Paris will be a front-runner in supplying Athens with other systems too.