Meeting in Paris, French President Emmanuel Macron and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis anounced the conclusion of a deal, reportedly worth 5 bilion euros, for the sale by France to Greece of three frigates, and an option on a fourth, in what Macron called 'an audacious first step towards European strategic autonomy'.
The general elections in Greece on Sunday returned the conservative New Democracy party to power in a landslide victory, ending the four-year coalition government led by the leftwing Syriza party of prime minister Alexis Tsipras. Syriza, once an outsider radical-left party, first gained power in January 2015 when Greece was socially and economically devastated by six years of a financial crisis that centred on the country’s snowballing debts, and which led to brutal and humiliating bailout conditions imposed by international institutions, chiefly the eurozone group and the IMF. At the time, Mediapart travelled to Greece to dress the portraits of nine men and women differently affected by the crisis, and in May this year, shortly before Tsipras called the snap general elections, returned to ask them about their current situations and how they judged the four-year term of the Syriza government. Their accounts here offer an insight into Sunday’s election result and the turnout of just under 60%, the second-lowest of any Greek general election.
Greek media reports say Athens is to begin negotiating the purchase from France of two French-Italian-designed FFREM-class multimission frigates, and is eyeing a further deal for two French Gowind-class corvettes.
Emmanuel Macron, who was elected as France’s new president on Sunday, gave his last interview before his landslide victory to Mediapart, in which he detailed the measures and policies he would adopt over his five-year term of office. During the two-hour interview on Friday evening, he detailed his approach to a number of foreign policy issues - which were little mentioned during his campaign - including French military intervention abroad, his views on Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Greek debt crisis, and US reluctance to implement the Paris COP 21 measures to combat climate change.