The Greek state, which concluded a third international rescue program in 2018 and faced the economic impact of the new coronavirus crisis, wants to spend part of its multi-billion euro cash reserves in the defense sector.
“We are discussing with the allies the development of our defense forces,” said government spokesman Stelios Petsas, adding that Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will present the plans on Saturday in his annual economic policy speech.
A Greek government official told Reuters last week that Greece was in talks with France and other countries over the purchase of fighter jets.
Greece has also been trying for more than a decade to consolidate and privatize its loss-making defense companies.
Mitsotakis will meet with French President Emmanuel Macron in Corsica on Thursday ahead of a summit of southern European leaders (MED7) on the French island. The two leaders are expected to discuss the European Union’s strained relationship with Turkey, the Macron office said.
Petas said that cooperation in the defense sector between the two countries will also be on the agenda.
Turkey and Greece have long disagreed over the extent of the continental shelves.
Tensions rose last month after Ankara sent a hydrocarbon exploration ship into the disputed waters, accompanied by warships, days after Greece signed a maritime agreement with Egypt.
Ankara has since expanded the ship’s operations in the region, issuing recommendations that Athens calls illegal.
On Monday, the Greek Conservative leader discussed the latest events with European Council President Charles Michel, who chairs EU leaders’ summits, in a phone call.
Michel will visit Athens on September 15, Petsas added.