Opposition leader SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance Alexis Tsipras and the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) have complained about the politicization of Greece’s acquisition of the French-made Rafale fighter jet
“Never before in modern Greek history has a political party turned the acquisition of armaments with the money of the Greek people, of which there is little to spare, into party political advertising” , posted Tsipras on Twitter.
“National shame and exploitation…”, he added.
Κανένα κόμμα ποτέ στη σύγχρονη ιστορία του τόπου δε μετέτρεψε αγορά εξοπλισμών με χρήματα του ελληνικού λαού, που μάλιστα δεν περισσεύουν, σε κομματικό σποτ.
Ντροπή και εθνική καπηλεία… pic.twitter.com/Aux7ynoW6x
— Αλέξης Τσίπρας – Alexis Tsipras (@atsipras) January 19, 2022
The KKE also criticized the government of Kyriakos Mitsotakis over the acquisition of the Rafale, complaining that the Rafales serve Greece’s involvement in NATO’s “aggressive plans”.
« Government celebrations around the Rafale [aircraft] cannot hide that, in the tragic conditions of the pandemic and the soaring prices, the people are called upon to assume – with the responsibility of the government and the other parties that voted for it – the excessive cost of these combat aircraft, which will serve the country’s involvement in the aggressive plans of the Euro-Atlantic imperialist alliances of the ruling class,” the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) said in a statement on Wednesday.
“True protection of the interests of the people and the sovereign rights of the country can only come about by withdrawing from the belligerent plans of the US-NATO-EU, a final disengagement, with the sovereign Greek people at the helm of power, with the construction of multilateral international relations on the basis of mutual benefit for the peoples,” he added.
READ MORE: The first photos of Greek Rafale fighter jets flying over the Acropolis.
Meanwhile, according to Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the new Rafale fighter jets which arrived in Greece on Wednesday are an example of how Greece is “changing and prospering in all areas”.
During the speech delivered at yesterday’s ceremony to receive the first six Rafele out of a total of 24 ordered from France, the Prime Minister also announced the hazard pay for aircrew and divers, who will now be exempt from all taxes.
Mitsotakis added that this will apply to the armed forces, security forces, fire and coast guards, as well as personnel who provide medical assistance using aircraft.
“This relief corresponds to the fiscal capacities of the country,” he added.
The Prime Minister stressed that the plane had arrived, ready to be deployed “and to protect the Greek skies”, with fully trained crews and support personnel, 16 months after it was ordered.
The next six were due to arrive in 2022, while the third half-dozen were due to arrive in 2023, followed by the final six.
READ MORE: Turkish DM Akar: Greece’s alliance with France will cause cracks in NATO.
For his part, Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos said the arrival of Rafale fighter jets in Greece marked a historic day.
Tanagra Air Base 114 has been the launching ground for Mirage fighter jets for decades, the minister pointed out.
From now on, the Rafales have come “to make a difference in the balance of power in the sky”, he added.
The entire support network and ground personnel, including technicians, are in a state of operational readiness, noted Panagiotopoulos, “which is a necessary condition for the full integration of Rafales into the ranks of the army of Greek look”.
The CEO of the aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation, Eric Trapier, underlined the strategic importance of the acquisition of these aircraft by Greece, while underlining the rapid completion of the training of personnel and the delivery of the Rafales.
Greece has demonstrated its confidence in France in practice by choosing the Rafales, said French Ambassador to Athens Patrick Maisonnave, because they “will protect Greek airspace for decades to come”.
After the Mirages, underlined the French ambassador, “a new chapter is opening in Greek-French cooperation” with the arrival of the Rafales.
“Greece and France are united by a centuries-old friendship,” he said, adding that “our peoples share the common values of freedom and solidarity, as well as a common vision for the future of Europe. “.
READ MORE: President Emmanuel Macron thanks Greece for buying French Rafale Jets.