According to France, after the failed submarine contract with Australia, relations within NATO’s military alliance come under pressure. That’s what Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on TV channel France 2 on Saturday night.

,,You should also question the strength of the alliance with the United States,” said Le Drian. ,In a real Alliance, one talks to one another and respects one another. That was not the case.” In his view, this would undermine NATO’s new strategic concept. He also spoke of lies and a breach of trust. ,That is not acceptable at all, which means there is a crisis.”

France is furious at a strategic partnership announced by the United States and Australia together with the United Kingdom. The new partnership resulted, among other things, in the removal by Australia of a purchase of French submarines made in 2016. Instead, the Australians will purchase nuclear-powered submarines from the Americans.

Le Drian already talked on Friday about Canberra’s ‘a knife in the back’ and a ‘brutal’ decision by US president Joe Biden. On Saturday, he said that France was notified only one hour before the partnership announcement and that his country is losing a 56 billion euro deal with the Australian contract.
‘Europeans must join forces’

On Friday, France recalled all its ambassadors in the US and Australia for consultations. This is the first time that Paris has taken such a step towards Washington and Canberra. The US in particular has been a good ally of the French since their war of independence.

Le Drian also called on Europe on Saturday to better protect its interests after the fall of Afghanistan and the submarine affair. ,If Europeans do not realise that they must join forces and defend their interests together if they want to remain part of history, their fate will be very different, and we cannot go in this harmful direction.”

France wants the European Union to play a more active role as a military force on the world stage. With the scrapping of the partnership, the French – and indirectly the European Union – will lose the opportunity to use their military power in the southern Indian and Pacific waters. As a result, Europeans no longer play a role in curbing China’s growing (military) influence in that region. In the future, cooperation between the US, the UK and the Australians will be a prerequisite for this.

Australia thinks the French government is playing around with the facts. The Australian government has been’ frank, open and honest ‘ with France about the country’s concerns about the deal to buy French submarines before the contract was torn up, Defense minister Peter Dutton said today in a conversation with Sky News Australia. He said he understood the “French dismay,” but also indicated that ” suggestions that the concerns have not been expressed by the Australian government are, frankly, contrary to what has been made public and certainly what has been said publicly over a long period of time. The government has had those concerns and we have expressed them.’

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