EU Chief blasts US ‘lack of loyalty’ after Australia submarine deal enrages France
EU chief Charles Michel accused the US of a “lack of loyalty” over its new submarine deal with Australia which cost France a multi-billion-dollar defense contract.
“The elementary principles for allies are transparency and trust, and it goes together. And what do we observe? We are observing a clear lack of transparency and loyalty,” he told reporters at the UN, according to AFP.
“[Europe needs] to clarify and to try to understand better what are the intentions behind this announcement,” he added.
Michel hinted at disappointment with US President Joe Biden who had vowed to restore American-European ties when he took office after relations had soured under his predecessor Donald Trump.
“At least [with Trump] it was really clear – the tone, the substance, the language – it was very clear that the EU was not in his opinion a useful partner, a useful ally,” he said.
The US and Britain announced on September 15 a new Indo-Pacific security alliance that will equip Australia with nuclear-powered submarines, which is widely seen as a move to counter China’s growing influence in the region.
Australia then scrapped a 2016 multi-billion-dollar contract with France to build 12 conventional diesel-electric submarines.
The announcement enraged Paris that accused the Washington of “duplicity”, and Canberra of “betrayal” and declared that a crisis struck at the heart of Western alliances.
France recalled its ambassadors to the US and Australia.
The White House said on Monday Biden is going to call his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron during the next few days to discuss recent developments and “shared interest in the Indo-Pacific”.