Minister of National Defence Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos and Minister of the Armed Forces of France Florence Parly Visit French Aircraft Carrier “Charles de Gaulle”

March 29, 2022

The Minister of National Defence Mr. Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos and his French counterpart Mrs. Florence Parly visited yesterday, Thursday 24 March 2022, the French Navy aircraft carrier “Charles de Gaulle”, which is anchored off Faliron Bay.

The visit and tour of the two Ministers took place after the signing ceremony of the Agreement for the procurement of the 3 “Belh@rra” frigates for the Hellenic Navy and six additional “Rafale” fighters aboard the “Georgios Averof” Battleship.

The event was also attended by the President of the Hellenic Parliament Mr. Konstantinos Tasoulas, the Deputy Minister of National Defence Mr. Nikolaos Chardalias, the Chief of Hellenic National Defence General Staff, General Konstantinos Floros, the Chief of Hellenic Navy General Staff, Vice Admiral Stylianos Petrakis HN, the Chief of Hellenic Air Force General Staff, Lieutenant General (HAF) Themistoklis Bourolias, and the Director General of Defence Armaments and Investments, Vice Admiral (ret.) Aristidis Alexopoulos.

After been welcomed aboard the French aircraft carrier, inspecting the guard of honor, and the National Anthems of Greece and France, the Minister of National Defence made the following statement to the press:

Today is another great and very important day for the Armed Forces, as well as for the continually reinforced and enhanced strategic relationship between Greece and France.

A while ago we had the opportunity and pleasure to welcome the Minister of the Armed Forces of the French Republic, our friend Florence Parly, aboard the “Averof” Battleship; she attended the signings of the Agreements concerning the acquisition of the three “Belharra” frigates procured to Greece by France, as well as the six additional “Rafale” Aircraft, between the companies’ representatives and the Hellenic State.

We continue with this visit, having the honour to visit the aircraft carrier “Charles de Gaulles”, which, among others, participates with its own assets, the “Rafale” aircraft taking off from here, in the exercises currently conducted in our broader region, culminating in the great air exercise “Iniochos” conducted these days, with the participation of many states and obviously France.

I believe that through these actions, through these agreements, the important strategic partnership relation between France and Greece has a new dimension. A dimension which becomes more up to date and more important these days, with everything we experience with the outbreak of the war in European territory; Greece and France, France and Greece are in the first line regarding the intensified initiatives for greater strategic autonomy for the European Union, showing Europe’s ability to finally act and respond, in order to defend interests of its member states’ populations, against any arising or existing security threat.

You realize that these days the security challenges are multiple and complex. So, the need to do more for the Europe of Defence is even more imperative.

We keep on going”.

Addressing the crew of the French aircraft carrier, Mr. Panagiotopoulos pointed out:

It is a great honor and pleasure to visit, along with the Minister of the Armed Forces, Mrs. Florence Parly, the President of the Greek Parliament, and the Leadership of the Hellenic Armed Forces, the aircraft carrier “Charles de Gaulles”, on a day so important for the strategic partnership relationship between Greece and France.

Today’s visit highlights the solidarity and the strong everlasting friendship of our countries and peoples, as well as the common way of thinking of France and Greece regarding challenges and threats against our national sovereignty and sovereign rights.

The presence of the French Navy flagship in the Greek seas and its participation in a few days in Exercise “Iniochos 2022” is a top moment with regard to the cooperation between our countries’ Armed Forces and the strategic partnership relationship between Greece and France.

I am familiar with the important work you perform for France’s National Defence, as well as for the defence of our common European principles, values and security. I congratulate you and I wish you good health and all success in the fulfillment of your demanding mission.

Tomorrow Greece is celebrating the anniversary of its national independence and the presence of “Charles de Gaulles” here in Piraeus pays tribute to the self-sacrifice and heroism of the Greek Nation and our common struggles for Freedom”.