The action of the European Commission to request clarifications from Greece on the investment part of the armaments agreements of the Hellenic Air Force and the Navy should be a matter of great concern in Athens, as there is a possibility it will activate the referral proceedings of Greece to the European Court.
What is shocking is that this process is moving amid a serious crisis between Greece and Turkey and raises suspicions that a country whose interests are affected by these agreements is behind this action.
According to a report by the Greek newspaper “Democratia” that is also hosted in defence-point.gr, the first area of interest to the Commission is the transfer of the Elefsina Shipyards to the ONEX company of Panos Xenokostas. ONEX in cooperation with the American state financial giant DFC, have acquired the Elefsina Shipyards. The action of the Commission raises obstacles to the process of the sale of the Skaramangas Shipyards (HSY) as well, since the ONEX-DFC cooperative scheme appears as an interested party here, too.
The European Commission is expected to monitor whether and to what extent competition rules have been complied with in the procedures, data and prime ministerial statements for the construction of frigates for the Navy. According to reports in Greece, the construction of frigates is considered a package-deal for the new owners of the shipyards.
The emerging dominance of American interests by a company that it seems to monopolize the Navy’s new shipbuilding clearly gives the impression that the sudden European intervention is more than a concern for compliance with competition rules in the EU.
However, there is interest in another US program, that of the upgrade of the 84 F-16 fighter jets to the F-16V configuration by Lockheed Martin. The interest here is focused on the industrial part of the upgrade, i.e. the participation of Hellenic Aerospace Industry (HAI), but also a significant number of private Greek companies in the defense industry.
The Brussels bureaucracy, though, with the known delays, did not realize in time that the Belh@rra frigate building program was abandoned by Greece and as a result the relevant document asks for clarifications on this issue as well. The report of “Democratia” raises the question, whether a new letter will follow which will replace the company involved with Dassault Aviation for the agreement for the acquisition of 18 Rafale fighter jets.
The official letter to the Greek government refers to information that has come to the attention of the European Commission. However, what is interesting to know is who initiated the proceedings by making relevant complaints to the Commission. It should be reminded that in the recent past the Elefsina Shipyards had filed a complain to the EU against Skaramangas Shipyards that resulted in Greece experiencing the complications and consequences of this until today.