The Alternate Minister of National Defence Panagiotis Rigas attended the New Year’s Pie Cutting Event of the Hellenic Manufacturers of Defence Material Association, on Tuesday 26 February 2019, which took place at the Armed Forces Officers Club.
Some points of the Alternate Minister’s address are cited below:
“The year 2019 constitutes a new opportunity for our country’s course to development and the reorganisation of production. I am referring to the whole network of industry, where the private sector is also included. The Defence Industry is a pillar of stability and it maintains that role for the Greek industry and the development of the country.
We need the whole of society, all the productive forces and at the same time this adventure we went through because of the financial crisis, to shape a new way of reflecting on development and economy. Healthy productive forces are able to step up and select their capabilities, so that we will all recover the lost ground.
There are certain problems in the State Defence Industry, which are deeply rooted in the past. I do not mean to blame the previous governments. The above however constitutes a reality. It is the truth and it must make us reflect once more on the situation and make the necessary evaluations in order to correct what is wrong.
During the crisis, the field of Defence Industry not only survived, going through hardships, but also managed to develop. Focusing on outreach and often using new tools, in contrast to other fields of industry.
I am fully aware of the high level of technology and the essential capabilities acquired by the Greek defence material companies, a fact which is ascertained by their performance in the international defence market.
We operate in an environment where we are obligated to preserve a high level in the Armed Forces. With that mentality we do everything in our power to maintain our necessary weapon systems and assets and to promote in the best possible way, with prudence, the necessary armament programmes, because we have to respect the sacrifices made by the Greek people.
The satisfaction of our needs through domestic defence production carries an added value which acquires strategic importance, because it promotes research, enhances economy and the capability to develop domestic technology and establish conditions so as to retain highly specialised technical and scientific personnel in our country.
We have begun, for some time now, an effort to make the needs and requirements of the Armed Forces and our country’s security benefits to approach the capabilities of the Domestic Defence Industry. I believe it is an effort with which we should all be satisfied. We achieved targeted and methodical steps in order to prove that the relations between the Armed Forces and the companies producing defence material are not, and cannot be, relations of dependence. They are and should be relations of respect, cooperation and transparency, beneficial to both parties. The General Directorate for Defence Armaments and Investments constitutes the key and the focal point for this cooperation.
The Hellenic Defence Industrial Strategy has made considerable steps. The implementation of the required changes in the law regarding procurements for the enhancement of swiftness, transparency, flexibility, efficiency and profitability of the Armed Forces procurement system is also of great importance. The law is at its final stages. There is a small delay, but it will be immediately concluded, in order to be submitted to the Parliament and provide greater flexibility.
We have established that there are capabilities to move forward. There is a positive outlook for the Hellenic Defence Industry, state and private, particularly if they join forces to promote themselves to the European Union. With the participation of Greece in the pertinent European developments, major opportunities are established in the field of Defence Industry.
Cooperation between all the bodies and branches of the Defence Industry can give a great push to our economy in the near future and that is our goal for 2019. It is a national goal”.