The 2nd DEFEA - Defence Exhibition Athens 2023 has been successfully concluded, demonstrating significant political and military representation from Greece and abroad. The event took place from May 9th to May 11th at the Metropolitan Expo. The presence of 55 official delegations, headed by Ministers and Deputy Ministers of Defence, Chiefs of Armed Forces and General Staffs, Directors of Defence Services, and esteemed executives from prominent global defence industries, unequivocally affirms the enhanced role of Greece. Through this year's DEFEA 2023, Greece found itself positioned at the forefront of international interest in the fields of Defence, Security, and the Defence Industry.
Minister of National Defence, Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos, visited the exhibition booths accompanied by Deputy Minister of National Defence, Nikolaos Chardalias, and the Chief of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff, General Konstantinos Floros. Mr. Panagiotopoulos engaged in a series of significant meetings with his counterparts who visited DEFEA, including the Italian Minister of Defence, Guido Crosetto, the Cypriot Minister of Defence, Michalis Giorgallas, and the Minister of Defence of North Macedonia, Slavjanka Petrovska. During these meetings, they discussed international geopolitical developments and bilateral defence interests, further solidifying Greece's imprint in the field of defence diplomacy. Mr. Panagiotopoulos also participated in an open discussion regarding Greece's role at the center of geopolitical developments and the further development of the domestic defence industry.
During the DEFEA23 - International Defence and Security Exhibition, Deputy Minister of National Defence, Nikolaos Chardalias, in the presence of Mr. Panagiotopoulos, signed a memorandum of understanding with his Slovak counterpart, Marian Majer, and met with the official military delegations from Armenia, Ghana, and the United Arab Emirates.
The Chief of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff, General Konstantinos Floros, held meetings with the Chief of the General Staff of the Saudi Arabian Armed Forces, General Fayyad Al-Ruwaili, and the Chief of the General Staff of the Central African Republic Armed Forces, General Zephirin Mamadou. They discussed matters of military cooperation as well as regional developments. Within the framework of the exhibition, General Floros toured the booths and met with representatives of foreign delegations.
On a diplomatic level, the presence of ambassadors and high-ranking officials from the European Union and NATO was significant. The Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs was represented by Deputy Minister for Economic Diplomacy and Extroversion, Kostas Fragogiannis. The opening ceremony of the American pavilion was attended by the U.S. Ambassador to Athens, George Tsunis.
High-level contacts were made by the Director of the Directorate for Defence Equipment and Investments, Admiral (Ret.)Aristidis Alexopoulos, during which important agreements were signed, such as the support for the Hellenic Air Force's long-range SCALP EG missiles by the French company MBDA. The Chiefs of the three branches, the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force, toured the booths at DEFEA2023 and met with their counterparts and representatives from the global defence industry.
The Minister of Development and Investment, Mr. Adonis Georgiadis, presented the government's program to support the domestic defence industry during the DEFEA2023 exhibition. He participated in an open discussion with the President of the Hellenic Manufacturers of Defence Materiel Association, Tasos Rozolis, and toured the exhibitors' booths. The Deputy Minister of Citizen Protection, Lefteris Oikonomou, was also present, as the Hellenic Police, the Fire Brigade, and the Hellenic Coast Guard had a significant presence at DEFEA2023.
This year's event also featured the participation of the European Commission. In this context, the Director-General for Defence Industry and Space, François Arbault, presented the actions of the European Defence Fund to support Research and Development programmes. Similarly, the NATO Defense Investment and Technology Research Directorate organised a discussion on the Greek innovation system and the NATO Innovation Fund.
Once again, DEFEA - Defence Exhibition Athens 2023 brought Greece to the forefront, creating significant opportunities for the development of the domestic defence industry, and strengthening the country's defence and diplomatic footprint. It laid the foundations for an even larger and more successful event in 2025.