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Politics

SYRIZA Says Greece’s Purchase of French Warships Too Costly

September 29, 2021

ATHENS – The major opposition SYRIZA, uncharacteristically not attacking the ruling New Democracy, said Greece's 2.9 billion euro ($3.38 billion) deal to acquire French warships made strategic sense but that it was too expensive.

The defense agreement signed between Greece and France for the Belharra frigates could have been cheaper, the leftists said, if the government had followed its advice to make a deal earlier.

Greece will buy three warships with an option for a fourth, picking the French defense contractor over US' Lockheed, which had recently sweetened its terms but to no avail.

The three French-built, state-of-the-art frigates, with the option of a fourth will be delivered between 2025 and 2026. Greece earlier agreed to a 2.5 billion euro ($2.92 billion) deal to buy to buy 18 French-made Rafale fighter jets, 12 used and six new and then upped it to 24 jets.

A mutual defense pact was also agreed for France and Greece to come to each other's aid if attacked, seen as a bulwark against Turkey's provocations in the seas aimed at Greece, which has raised fears of a conflict at times.

SYRIZA said that as trouble brewed in 2020 with Turkey, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, that the Leftists urged New Democracy “for rational European strategic independence,” but said that the government instead “left the country without defense and diplomatic support.”

The result was forcing Greece “into an arms race exceeding 10 billion euros,” when it was already over-indebted, said Kathimerini.

“In this context, we wonder, beyond the Navy’s needed frigates and the Air Force’s upgrade of F-16s, whether other defense choices are of such priority, and whether they exceed our economy’s expenditure capacities,” SYRIZA also said.

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