Greece Denies Wanting to Lease Two Navy Frigates from France

Greece’s Defense Minister Panos Kammenos on Wednesday denied reports that Athens would lease two FREMM frigates from France in order to enhance military power in the Aegean.

Last week Deputy Defense Minister said that Greece will acquire two frigates on lease from the French Navy. On Monday, French Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, denied that there was any discussion on leasing warships to Greece.

Kouvelis made the statement in light of the ongoing Turkish provocations in the Aegean and the inflammatory comments continuously coming from the neighboring country.

On Wednesday, the Greek defense minister held a press conference to put an end to false reports on the issue. Kammenos said that what happened in reality was that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and French President Emmanuel Macron discussed the possible construction of frigates in Greece.

Specifically, the defense minister said that the two leaders 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. Macron had appeared to be positive to such a prospect, Kammenos said.

Regarding the upgrade of 85 Greek Air Force F-16 fighter jets in the United States, Kammenos said the program requires parliamentary approval. The project that would cost  €1.1 billion, the minister indicated, would be difficult to materialize in view of demands for primary surplus targets by Greece’s creditors.