The pact stipulates that the two sides will come to each other’s aid if attacked even though being members of NATO they are already supposed to do that.
Greek lawmakers have ratified a defence deal with France that includes a mutual assistance clause in case of an armed attack against either.
The five-year agreement was announced in Paris last week by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and French President Emmanuel Macron.
Greece also announced plans to buy three French frigates, a deal due to be finalised by the end of the year.
“For the first time, an explicit and unequivocal military assistance clause is provided in the case of a third party attack on one of the two states,” Mitsotakis told lawmakers.
The agreement was opposed by the main left-wing opposition party Syriza, which argued that it imposes too many concessions on Athens including the risk of involvement in France’s overseas military operations.
READ MORE: Greece to buy jets, three frigates from France under new defence deal
Live | Δευτερολογία στη #Βουλή για την Κύρωση της Συμφωνίας μεταξύ της Κυβέρνησης της Ελληνικής Δημοκρατίας και της Κυβέρνησης της Γαλλικής Δημοκρατίας για την εγκαθίδρυση στρατηγικής εταιρικής σχέσης για τη συνεργασία στην άμυνα και την ασφάλεια. https://t.co/HZ7loeZ81A— Prime Minister GR (@PrimeministerGR) October 7, 2021
The idea of collective defence is a principal tenet of NATO, of which both Greece and France are members, as is Turkey.
Article 5 of the alliance’s treaty stipulates that an attack on one member nation is considered an attack on all.
On Tuesday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg appeared to be critical of European defence initiatives that aren’t within NATO.
“What I don’t believe in is efforts to try to do something outside the NATO framework or compete with or duplicate NATO, because NATO remains the cornerstone, the bedrock for European security, and also actually for North American security,” Stoltenberg said in a speech without directly mentioning the defence deal between Greece and France.
Greece is pinning much of its defence strategy on close military cooperation with France and the United States as it remains locked in a volatile dispute with neighbour Turkey over sea and airspace boundaries.
Athens is currently concluding negotiations with the US to extend and possibly increase the scale of a Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement that allows US troops access to Greek military bases.
Turkey says it has been unfairly excluded from sea and seabed mineral access in the eastern Mediterranean in a dispute that triggered a tense naval standoff with Greece last year and renewed tension in recent weeks.
Over the weekend, a spokesperson for the Turkish Defense Ministry described Greece’s actions as “unlawful, provocative and aggressive.”
In response to the tension, Greece’s government announced last year it would be overhauling its military, including the hiring of personnel and a major military procurement programme that has already seen the country buying 18 French Rafale fighter jets.
The defence deal with France includes a mutual assistance clause, which states that the two sides will come to each other’s aid “with all appropriate means at their disposal, and if necessary with the use of armed force if they jointly ascertain that an armed attack is taking place against the territory of one of the two.”
READ MORE: Erdogan: Turkey and France can contribute to peace efforts in the world