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What to expect from Meloni in Athens

Featured What to expect from Meloni in Athens

The good links between Kyriakos Mitsotakis and his Italian counterpart, Giorgia Meloni, are known to those who follow their movements at the European level. The semantics also prove it: the two always sit next to each other at Council meetings, while Meloni is said to always pick up her phone for a conversation with the Greek Prime Minister aimed at coordinating the movements of the countries of the South before major decisions.

This good chemistry that has developed, based on realism, on the common problems of Greece and Italy, but also on the road to the cooperation of the European South opened by Mario Draghi, may be confirmed on Greek soil on Thursday, with the arrival of Meloni in Athens for a working lunch with Mitsotakis. And although nothing has been "locked in" yet, it seems that this is an informal meeting that has been in the works for a long time, as Meloni's arrival is already pending before the double election contest.

Mitsotakis and Meloni are expected to dine either alone or with the company of a few partners, but the menu is more or less a given and includes issues of the regional and European agenda, as well as issues concerning the bilateral relations of the two countries. Energy is important for Athens, as it wants to increase exports to Italy, speeding up, among other things, an (already under construction) electrical interconnection cable. Regarding Immigration, which continues to concern both sides as host countries, it is recalled that last July, at the Rome Conference on Development and Migration, Athens had responded to the invitation with the presence of the competent minister, Dimitris Kairides.

The corvettes

The working lunch of the two leaders contributes to strengthening the already good relations between the two countries, which have been discussing for a long time the strengthening of their defense cooperation. It is worth noting that Greece's decision on the three-plus-one corvette program is pending – two offers are on the table, as early as the end of 2022, one from the Italian firm Fincantieri and one from the French firm Naval.

Before the elections, the leadership of the Ministry of National Defense connected the issue of the corvettes with the participation of Greek shipyards in their construction, but also with a potential defense agreement that could possibly arise with Italy.

Given, in any case, that both ships meet the conditions set by the Navy, the French proposal has been linked to the Scaramanga Shipyards, while the Italian one to the Elefsina Shipyards. Although it is not certain that the issue will be discussed by Mitsotakis and Meloni (the Greek side does not rule out the issue being raised by the Italian side), the competent minister, Nikos Dendias, has recently reported to "NEA" newspaper that the offers for the shipbuilding program of corvettes is in the evaluation process.


At the regional level, Rome's relations with Tripoli are also important for Athens, especially after Greece's decision to send an ambassador to Libya and try to open the doors of dialogue with the country's government. It is recalled that Italy has a leading role in the developments in Libya, as at the beginning of 2023, in the presence of Meloni in Tripoli, Italian and Libyan oil companies signed an agreement for natural gas amounting to 8 billion dollars.