France crows about ‘historic’ deal with Greece as minister touts ‘European defence’

GB News panel savages Macron tantrum on Aukus deal

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However, social media users have questioned Florence Parly’s logic, with one suggesting the agreement was scant compensation for the cancellation of a £48bn (€56bn) contract to supply conventional submarines to Australia after the unveiling of the trilateral defence agreement between Canberra, Washington and London earlier this month. And she was also challenged by another who suggested she was incorrect to push the concept of a bloc-wide defence strategy.

State-of-the-art equipment which contributes to an ambitious European defence

Florence Parly

Following the deal announced earlier today, Ms Parly, a close ally of French President Emmanuel Macron, tweeted: “Greece and France continue their historic cooperation.

“The Greeks choose the French and Naval Group to equip its Navy with three French-built frigates, with a 4th optional.

“State-of-the-art equipment which contributes to an ambitious European defence.”

One Twitter account, referring to themselves as the Scout of Rhone Alpes, replied: “That doesn’t make up for the 56 billion lost in Australia, and three frigates are not 12 submarines. Small arms to manoeuvre…”

Yann Keller added: “‘Contributes to European defence’? No this is wrong and you know it.

“This contributes to the defence of Greece.”

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Referring to the French fighter jet, he added: ”Europe not being a power, it is unable to act commonly (how many countries have bought the Rafale?)”

Meanwhile, Craig Bell questioned where Greece was getting the money from, saying: “Is the 31 billion EU recovery fund for Greece supposed to [be] spent on planes and ships? Mrs VDL will want her money back…”

Speaking today as he confirmed the deal, Mr Macron said Europe needed to stop being naive when it comes to defending its interests and build its own military capacity.

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France was plunged into an unprecedented diplomatic crisis with the United States, Australia and Britain earlier this month over the AUKUS agreement, which torpedoed a multi-billion dollar French-designed submarine contract with Canberra.

Mr Macron, speaking during a joint press conference with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, said: “The Europeans must stop being naive.

“When we are under pressure from powers, which at times harden (their stance), we need to react and show that we have the power and capacity to defend ourselves. Not escalating things, but protecting ourselves.

“This isn’t an alternative to the United States alliance. It’s not a substitution, but to take responsibility of the European pillar within NATO and draw the conclusions that we are asked to take care of our own protection.”

The accord, part of a broader strategic military and defence cooperation pact, comes after Athens had already ordered some 24 Dassault-made Rafale fighter jets this year, making it the first European Union country to buy the aircraft.

Mr Mitsotakis said: “This will tie us for decades. This opens the door to the Europe of tomorrow that is strong and autonomous, capable of defending its interests.”

When asked whether this deal risked raising tensions in the eastern Mediterranean and specifically with Turkey, Mr Macron said the accord did not target a country specifically, but Greece, as the outer border of the European Union, needed to be protected.

In an apparent swipe at Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, he added: “I don’t get the feeling that in the summer of 2020 it was Greece that was bellicose in the eastern Mediterranean.

“As Europeans it is our duty to show solidarity with members states. It is legitimate that we commit to equipping it so it can ensure its territorial integrity is respected and that we commit to cooperating to protect it in case of intrusions, attacks or aggressions.”

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