Greece will buy three frigates from France as part of a deeper “strategic partnership” between the two countries to defend their shared interests in the Mediterranean, French President Emmanuel Macron said Tuesday.
The deal marks “an audacious first step towards European strategic autonomy,” Macron said at a signing ceremony with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis at the Elysee Palace.
Mitsotakis said on Monday that Greece has been in talks with France to boost their defense alliance as Athens seeks to build up its armed forces.
After finalizing a 2.5 billion euros agreement with long-standing ally France for the purchase of 18 Dassault-made Rafale figther jets last year, Mitsotakis said this month that Greece would buy another six Rafale jets from Paris.
Greece has been often embroiled in tensions with neighboring Turkey over a range of issues, from competing claims over hydrocarbon resources in the Aegean Sea to demilitarization of islands.
Mitsotakis said that Greece did not want to start an “armaments race” but the country had to modernize its armed forces after a decade-long financial crisis.