The F-16 aircraft upgrade deal between Alexis Tsipras and Donald Trump made in Washington; and allegedly costing about $2.4 billion, has caused a political uproar both at home and abroad.
During their White House meeting, the Greek PM and the American president discussed a potential sale of aircraft to Greece to upgrade its F-16 fighters; which Trump said would generate thousands of US jobs.
Opposition parties in Greece have accused the government of adding to the country’s debt with a deal mostly benefiting American workers. However; will the $2.4 billion deal burden the Greek government’s budget, and does it need to be green-lighted by the country’s lenders?
That was the question posed to EU officials by the Greek media today and the answer has caused more potential problems for the government. “It is certainly an issue, the fiscal aspects of which will have to be discussed with the lenders,” was the response of an EU official.
As if that wasn’t enough, other EU sources mentioned that the deal’s cost will burden the Greek debt adding that the issue hasn’t been mentioned in the ongoing negotiations – “it hasn’t even been presented as a potential plan.”
A few hours earlier, government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos attempted to minimize the effect of the deal to the country’s budget, by introducing a lower cost amount of €1.1 billion, and adding that it would affect the budget in a space of 10 to 15 years.
Tzanakopoulos didn’t clarify how a $2.4 billion aircraft deal would ultimately cost €1.1 billion to the government budget, but he insisted that the uproar caused by the deal was “rather excessive.”
Greek opposition parties have been critical of the deal’s effect to the country’s debt, though not overtly so, given that conservative New Democracy, socialist PASOK and centrist To Potami parties consider matters of national defence as too important to turn into political ammunition against the government.