France throws the EU under the bus, threatening to sabotage an Australian trade agreement over a submarine dispute.
MEPs from France have threatened to scupper talks between the EU and Australia on a free trade agreement over Aukus.
The agreement between Australia and the United Kingdom and the United States, signed on September 15, focuses on the development of nuclear-powered submarines. However, as a condition of joining the agreement, Australia had to cancel a multibillion-dollar submarine deal with France.
MEPs have stated that the EU-Australia trade pact “cannot be finalised as it is” in response to Australia’s decision to abandon its nuclear deal with France.
The Aukus contract, according to Mathilde Androuet, MEP for the right-wing Identity and Democracy party, is “especially unfair and in favor of Washington.”
She underlined that Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, had previously stated that Australia had treated France in a “unacceptable” manner.
The MEP continued, The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, believes the US has shown “lack of devotion” to France.
Despite the Aukus deal, Josep Borrell, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, stated that “the European Union would make attempts to finalize trade deals with Australia.”
In her remark, the MEP continued, “The EU and its institutions must be a protective wall for the nations that make it up.”
“Also, the free trade agreement that the European Union has been negotiating since 2018 in response to Canberra’s wishes cannot be concluded in its current form,” she continued.
“We may add Australia’s recent disregard for France, a founding member of the European Union, which is set to assume its presidency, to the usual concerns about these anti-ecological trade deals, which are sometimes opposed to the economic interests of European states.”
“It appears to be critical for France, as well as our European nations in general, to reassert contract enforcement as a precondition for any trade partnerships with third countries.
“Otherwise, Europe’s image, already soiled and on the verge of being downgraded in the face of competitor powers, would be further degraded.”
In recent days, France’s ambassador to Australia, Jean-Pierre Thébault, told SBS French that the decision to cancel the near-$90 billion project goes beyond a contract breach.
To the broadcaster, the ambassador described it as “treason in the making,” adding that the nature of the arrangement involved the exchange of “technical secrets.”
“It was (really) a true partnership relationship, a. “Brinkwire Summary News,” he continued.