(Bloomberg) -- Turkey and Greece will formally join a German-led missile-defense project Thursday, taking the number of members of the so-called European Sky Shield Initiative to 21, according to German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius.

“This is a considerable number in such a short time,” Pistorius told reporters before a meeting with his NATO counterparts in Brussels.

The push to bolster Europe’s air defenses by the government in Berlin was first announced by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in a speech in Prague in August 2022.

It involves countries jointly procuring air- and missile-defense systems and is designed to increase cost efficiency and flexibility.

However, the move has upset France, which has not joined up, because it wants European nations to purchase systems made by the continent’s own contractors rather than rely partly on equipment produced in the US and Israel.

Both Greek Defense Minister Nikolaos Dendias and the Turkish Defense Ministry confirmed a signing ceremony would take place Thursday.

Pistorius also told reporters that he’ll sign a purchase contract Thursday with his Slovenian counterpart for an IRIS-T SLM air-defense system.

--With assistance from Taylan Bilgic and Sotiris Nikas.

(Updates with Greek minister in sixth paragraph)

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