Following the passage of the US-Greece defence cooperation bill on Tuesday in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the next crucial step in its legislative process was taken yesterday, with its submission to the House of Representatives.
The version of the bill submitted to the House of Representatives is almost identical to the one submitted to the Senate and considers that it is in the interest of the USA to help Greece get rid of the existing dependencies on Russian equipment. Therefore, it envisages the inclusion of Greece in the European Recapitalisation Incentive Program.
In this light, the bill provides for annual military assistance of 25 million dollars to Greece for the period between 2022 and 2026. In addition, the bill calls for approval of the sale of F-35 fighter jets formerly destined for Turkey, now to Greece and provides for the provision of loans to Greece which will be related to armaments programs.
It is worth noting that the bill enjoys cross-party support in both houses of Congress. In the Senate, it was tabled by Democratic senator and chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee Robert Menendez, and Republican senator Marco Rubio. Respectively in the House, the main speakers of the bill were the Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla) and Ted Deutch (D-Fla).
The “US-Greece Defense and Interparliamentary Partnership Act 2021”, as it is officially called, aspires to build on the momentum created by the East Med Act and provides specific initiatives to enhance defense cooperation between Washington and Athens, as well as to support the modernisation of the Greek Armed Forces. Among other things, it expresses support for the 3 + 1 scheme and requests its extension to other areas of cooperation.