EU threatens to scrap US summit in revenge for French submarine row
AUKUS shows world UK is 'standing on own two feet' says Baker
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The French President is yet to speak publicly but his government has made clear he was furious over the decision by the UK, Australia and the US to forge a new defence alliance leaving France empty-handed and excluded. The so-called AUKUS deal saw orders for French submarines by Australia scrapped last week and France left out of a key military partnership in the Indo-Pacific.
EU leaders backed President Macron’s outrage yesterday, hinting a key summit between the bloc and the US in Pittsburgh could be scrapped over tensions.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen spoke to CNN, blasting President Biden for his decision to leave the bloc out.
She said the treatment France received from its NATO allies was “unacceptable”, adding President Biden owes the bloc an explanation.
She said: “There are a lot of open questions that have to be answered.
“One of our member states has been treated in a way that is not acceptable, so we want to know what happened and why.
“And therefore you first clarify that before you keep going with business as usual.”
EU leaders are expected to meet US officials for Trade and Technology Council in Pittsburgh next week.
A Commission statement read: “A date next week had been fixed for the first meeting of the TTC (trade and tech council) We are analysing the impact that the AUKUS announcement would have on this schedule.”
European Council President Charles Michel also told reporters in New York that the Biden administration has failed so far to demonstrate it differs from Donald Trump’s hostile approach against the EU.
He said: “With the new Joe Biden administration, America is back.
“What does it mean America is back? Is America back in America or somewhere else? We don’t know.”
He added: “The elementary principles for an alliance are loyalty and transparency.
“We are observing a clear lack of transparency and loyalty.”
The Council President said the spat should not be seen in France’s mere economic interest but as a clear disregard for European allies and the relationship between the US and the EU.
He continued: “Obama with charisma, very polished, took important decisions in Syria with negative consequences for Europe, and we could observe also a lack of coordination, of consultation between the United States and European governments.
“At least with Donald Trump it was very, very clear that he was not in favour of the European integration, that for him Europe doesn’t matter, but it was clear.”
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Referring to Biden’s decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, Mr Michel added: “When the transatlantic alliance is less robust and less solid, this is not good for the security in Europe and everywhere in the world.
“This is more than a bilateral trade or industrial topic. It’s more than that.”
The leader of the European People’s Party (EPP) in the European Parliament, Manfred Weber, confirmed Germany was also behind Mr Macron on the issue.
He said: “I think all Europeans should stand next to France because the main problem in this regard is whether we can really have with America a partnership-oriented, a trustful relationship.
“That is at stake.”
Arriving in New York City on Monday, French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian also said all EU countries should be concerned about the diplomatic spat.
He said: “Europeans shouldn’t be the rejects of the strategy chosen by the United States.
“We are in this new state of mind, which means the Europeans need to identify their own strategic issues and to have a discussion with the United States on this topic.”
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