Kathimerini Greece Newsroom
Amid confusion over reports that Greece would lease navy frigates from France, Greek Defence Minister Panos Kammenos said Wednesday that Athens and Paris talked about the possibility of building the vessels in the country.
He said Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and French President Emmanuel Macron discussed the possible construction of frigates in Greece.
Tsipras and Macron discussed the possible use of profits on Greek bonds held by the central banks of other European countries, such as France, for the construction of frigates, Kammenos said, noting that Macron had appeared positive to such a prospect.
"Could the government inform its citizens on what exactly has been agreed"
As for plans for a US upgrade of Greece's F-16 fighter jets, Kammenos said the program requires parliamentary approval.
Regarding the 1.1 billion euro cost of the program, the minister indicated that meeting it would be difficult in view of demands by Greece's creditors for primary surplus targets.
Main opposition New Democracy accused the government of “amateurism” in handling Greece’s defence, following reports in the French press that challenged a statement by Alternate Defence Minister Fotis Kouvelis last week that Paris had agreed to lease two frigates to Athens.
“Could the government, which apparently treats even the country’s defence with incredible amateurism, inform its citizens on what exactly has been agreed - if it has agreed - with France?” the party said in a press release.
On Saturday, French weekly La Tribune quoted French Defence Minister Florence Parly, who said “it is not valid” that any deal has been reached, however, “we are at the disposal of our Greek friends to continue working even more closely.”
French website Mer at Marine quoted on Monday an unnamed French official who said that such a deal is “out of the question” and that “these statements are totally unfounded.”