Log in
A+ A A-

The ongoing saga of leasing French frigates

It's not clear what has happened and what is going to happen from now on with the ongoing saga of two French frigates, and parties and political observers are hoping that today things will clear up at an extraordinary press conference that will be given by the Minister of Defense, Mr. Panos Kammenos.

From the government's manipulations so far of the nationally sensitive issue that has wider geopoliticalimplications, the only certainty is that the seriousness and credibility of the country, as the opposition parties have already criticized, has been worn out.

Kouvelis rushes ahead

Last Friday, in a televised interview, Defense Minister Fotis Kouvelis revealed that during a telephone conversation recently held by the Greek Prime Minister with the President of France, he "concluded" an agreement for the subletting of two state-of-the-art French frigates to Greece. Mr. Kouvelis went even further, revealing that the two French warships will have sailed to the Aegean Sea by next August and will have been preceded by preparations for the training of the Greek crews to sail them!

More extensive reports and analyses followed in the media, apparently based on information leaked by the government, according to which the arrival of the French frigates in the Aegean , in addition to strengthening the defense of the country in the face of increasing Turkish provocations, are also related to the upgraded military role France is planning to take on in the Middle East.

The frigates, the "big picture" ...

The ambiguous attitude of the US in the region, the diplomatic distance from Germany and Europe's intense concerns about developments in this regionpresents an opportunity for Mr Macrón to strengthen and upgrade France's role in the sensitive region, and more generally in Europe as a" guarantor of power ".

It is no coincidence that when the news of the sublease of the two frigates in Greece was announced, Erdogan officially protested to France through a sharp demarche.

Through these upheavals and the changes in alliances and areas of influence, it is clear that Greece will be called upon to play an important but complementary role, covering the gaps created by Turkey's distancing from the West but also by strengthening its power her in the always "uncertain", and explosive Aegean ...

Governmental inconsistency!

Nevertheless, in such a critical (both for European and wider Western concerns) issue, Greece emerged through its moves as a "non-serious" actor, exposing its allies for subtle issue under discussion and ... the last thing needed was for this to become public  It is characteristic that French Defense Minister Florence Parly has denied that there is an agreement on subletting the two frigates, and has said she is unaware of what has happened during the teleconferencing between Macron and Tsipras.

After the French reaction (but also the meeting of the KYSEA, which did not discuss the issue of the frigates - as was not announced at least) the government spokesman emptied Mr Kouvelis, and his "certainty" that French ships will have come to the Aegean "in the summer," simply announcing that "there are a number of investigations for various defense ministry projects ...".

A few hours later, and after the announcement of today's press conference by Mr Kammenos, Mr Kouvelis came back again with his "certainties" when, through his "sources", he not only reiterated that "the process is proceeding properly. We will soon come to an agreement and the two frigates will come to Greece, " but the deputy minister's associates explained that there would soon be an agreement on chartering of the frigates, considering the fact that a French delegation will come to Athens on 3 May to continue the talks.