ATHENS – Although it's certain to pass, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis isstill upset that the major opposition SYRIZA wouldn't back a 2.9-billion euro ($3.35 billion) to buy warships from France as a bulwark against Turkish aggression.
The agreement was approved by a committee in Parliament where Mitsotakis' New Democracy government has a majority 158 seats in the 300-member body and got support from two other parties, the center-left Movement for Change (KINAL) and the nationalist Greek Solution, for a total of 179 votes.
Led by SYRIZA, all the left-wing parties – including the KKE Communists and Diem25 also opposed it but didn't say whether they didn't want further defenses against Turkey or had reservations about the cost.
“Sadly, the partisan blinders prevent some from seeing where the country’s real interests lie,” Mitsotakis said during a dinner with European Union counterparts at a Western Balkans meeting in Slovenia, reported Kathimerini.
In Parliament, Defense Minister Nikos Dendias, pointing to Turkey after neither Greece nor France earlier did, said that, “The aggressiveness of our neighboring country does not allow MPs the luxury of voting it down.”
“Remember that Greece has bought very powerful armament systems from France in the past, but it never managed to sign such a treaty with such a powerful country – the only nuclear power in the European Union, and the only EU country to hold a permanent seat in the UN Security Council,” he said.
“The signing of this agreement is a massive national success,” he noted, citing foreign press reviews and Turkish government reactions as a testament to its importance, and with a mutual defense pact with France.