The Greek Parliament Plenum overwhelmingly ratified the contract for the procurement of 18 Rafale fighter jets Thursday.
Specifically, the parliamentary groups of ND, SYRIZA, Movement for Change, and Hellenic Solution voted in favour of the acquisition of the fighters, while the Communist party (KKE) and far-leftist MeRA25 voted against it.
Closing the session, the Minister of National Defence, Nikos Panagiotopoulos, noted that “the national delegation sent a strong message. “Everyone expressed the positive sentiment of strengthening the Armed Forces and most showed it through their affirmative vote.”
“It is crucial on matters of national issues to join forces and in this case, we succeeded,” commented parliamentary spokesman Giannis Vroutsis. Major opposition party SYRIZA reconsidered its initial stance, leading to a broader consensus.
During the discussion of the bill in the Plenary Session, the rapporteur of the official opposition, George Tsipras, stated that “under normal circumstances, no party, let alone SYRIZA, could co-sign a contract that is filled with holes and may create major problems for the protection of the public interest in the future. But because we are not ND we will vote in favour. We are voting in favour with huge reservations and abdicating any responsibility for what this contract may give birth to in the public interest. We are voting in favour, provided that the country’s strategic defence planning is not overturned,” he said, adding that his party’s “presence” in the Armed Forces budget “was done because we have absolutely no confidence in you.”
It is recalled that in the competent parliamentary committee, Mr. Tsipras called on the leadership of the Ministry of National Defence to return the contract to the French as unacceptable in order to change the conditions related to the payment and receipt schedule.