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French Defense Ministry says Exclusive Economic Zones are not part of Greece-France deal – EURACTIV.com


A recently signed military agreement between Greece and France provides for a mutual defense clause that includes the territories of the two countries, but not the exclusive economic zones (EEZs), the French defense ministry told EURACTIV France on Friday (October 15th).

The historic agreement, signed on September 28, was widely seen as a first step towards achieving European strategic defense autonomy. It lends itself to mutual assistance in the event of an armed attack by a third country, even if that country belongs to NATO.

“The Parties shall lend each other mutual assistance and relief, by all appropriate means in their possession, where appropriate the use of armed force, if they find by mutual agreement that an armed attack has taken place against the territory. of one of them, in accordance with article 51 of the United Nations Charter ”, we read in article 2 of the military agreement.

However, the French defense ministry told EURACTIV France in a written statement that exclusive economic zones were not part of the agreement.

“The exclusive economic zone (EEZ) is not considered to be part of the territory of a State, in particular by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (known as the Montego Bay Convention), to which France and the Greece are parties, ”the ministry said.

The statement confirms a EURACTIV France report on the subject on October 6, which quoted the French foreign ministry as saying that the military agreement only concerned the “territories”.

The issue sparked a political clash in Athens between the ruling New Democracy Party (EPP) and the main left-wing opposition party Syriza.

The latter did not ratify the agreement in a parliamentary vote, arguing that France should clarify the EEZ as part of the military agreement. Neighboring Turkey, a NATO member, has long questioned the Greek EEZ.

On the other hand, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis insisted during a parliamentary debate that the International Court of Justice accepted an armed attack as an invasion and use of force against another state military unit, “ even outside the territory stricto sensu ”.

“This is why no military agreement at the global level makes reference to an EEZ or a continental shelf”, declared the Greek Prime Minister.

[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos | EURACTIV.com/ Alice Taylor]