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CYPSEC 2021 | Interview of Mr. Tassos Rozolis, President of Hellenic Manufacturers of Defence Material Association (SEKPY) to DЯ

Marios Kanarinis

Published on 05/10/2021 at 15:03

The President of the Hellenic Manufacturers of Defence Material Association (SEKPY), and CEO of AKMON S.A, Tassos Rozolis, gave an exclusive interview to DEFENCE ReDEFINED on the occasion of “CYPSEC 2021” Defence and Security conference, which takes place in Cyprus. 

Mr. Rozolis referred to, among other things, issues of the Defence Industry in Cyprus and Greece, but also to the progress made in Cyprus in matters of Defence and Security. 

Our interview follows. 

What is your opinion about the emerging Defence ecosystem in Cyprus? 

I think it is a positive initiative. Cyprus has no prehistory in the Defence Industry. Through the programs of the European Union, but also owing to young children’s interest in the field, there is an emerging ecosystem because of which, in my opinion, we must develop a fruitful cooperation and synergy with SEKPY. The Greek Defence Ecosystem has great construction potential so it will be an opportunity to ‘marry’ these two so as to have joint Greek programs.

Also read: CYPSEC 2021 | The defence and security conference is being held in Nicosia

Based on your capacity as President of the Hellenic Manufacturers of Defence Material Association, what are your suggestions for the National Guard and your remarks regarding the defence material in its possession?

It is not exactly our position to propose something operationally, but based on the strategy we witness, I believe that the National Guard must follow the steps of Greece. We are small countries so we have to enter into collaborations with International Organisations, such as the one entered into between Greece and Naval Group. That is, what Greece and Cyprus will be purchasing from now on is not a mere purchase, but also a future cooperation which ensures the corresponding political result. 

The Greek people, because we are domestic and when things are fine we tend to forget, there must be constant seriousness. As long as we have our enemy (Turkey), we must never be complacent. So this is my position. Development, new programs, cooperation with Greece. Also, both countries should join the new European plan so we can purchase what we can afford from the Americans, the Israelis. I see Rafael here. We also purchase from Rafael. Not only should we be regular buyers, we should become participants as well, we should have the technology. This does not only concern the industry, but also the National Guard. The latter must know that, if something happens, the country will be able to support it, upgrade it and repair it. 

Also read:  DEFEA | The Hellenic Defence Industry will participate with 97 companies

What are your views on potential future synergies in the field of Defence with Cyprus Companies? We remind you that this is underway as shown in the participation of Cyprus Companies in EDIDP programs.

I see this and it is very interesting. There are several Greek and Cyprus companies. I jokingly say that the Eurovision system is a player here and it should be one. I think France seems to be a third factor for the European Union at the moment, but we should also look at the issue of Israel, which has a very strong defence industry, as exporters. They are not going to buy our own products but they are going to put us in the global supply chain and thus reach countries Israel cannot sell to for its own geopolitical reasons. In this way, the Greek Defence Industry can be at the forefront.

A final comment and your thoughts about the conference.

Firstly, the conference is very important like any conference, especially now that it comes at a time when we have a lot of developments ahead of us. England’s withdrawal from the European Union leads us to a more intense European Defence Policy in the interest of Greece and Cyprus. As long as the British were part of the EU, they did not want us to participate in Defence programs. What happened recently, and I think it is known by the Europeans, is that the Americans are simply telling us, “we cannot pay for your defence in your area. We support you, but someone else has to take on this role.” The superpower of Europe today is France. So, this conference is starting to show the directions we need to have. You can see it from the participating companies. It is important that officials from the Ministry of Defence and politicians also attended the conference. DEFEA did the same thing and this must go on. This should be done exactly once a year. In my opinion, in each new conference the set objectives that have been achieved must be presented. However, the developed synergies are what’s most important. We see people who do not know us and do not know our potential. Respectively, some people from Cyprus did not know that there are such companies in Greece, so I think it is very significant.

Also read: DEFEA 2021 Interview | EODH to expand its long lasting cooperation with KMW of the KNDS Group, for another 10 years

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