Highlights of an international crisis

Australia will pay a compensation of 555 million euros to the French industrialist Naval Group in order to financially end the case for the French submarines. The case caused a diplomatic crisis between Paris and Canberra for the last time.

The huge contract for the delivery of French submarines to Australia, revoked in 2021, led to a compensation agreement unveiled on Saturday. An opportunity to look back on the various features of this international crisis.

  • 56 billion euro contract

France and Australia signed a massive contract worth 56 billion euros on December 20, 2016 for the supply of 12 conventional submarines from the future French nuclear submarines Barracuda, committing both states for the next fifty years . Objective: To start building submarines in 2022 to launch for the first time in 2030.

The machines are to be built in Adelaide and French industrialist Naval Group says 60% of the value of the contract will be spent in Australia, according to Canberra creating about 2,800 jobs at the site.

In February 2021, the Naval Group CEO traveled to Adelaide to try to defuse the rising tensions around the contract. The public group has come under fire from critics in Australia where there are fears of additional costs for the programme.

In early June, the Australian Defense Ministry highlighted the danger of a “Plan B” in the event of failure of negotiations on the next phase of the contract. A few days later, Emmanuel Macron reaffirmed France’s “full and complete commitment” to go through with the contract by receiving Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison at the Elysee Palace.

  • Australia broke the contract
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On 15 September, Scott Morrison announced that his country would acquire nuclear-powered submarines as part of a new partnership with the United States and the United Kingdom, which voids the French contract. Paris condemned it as “a blow in the back”. The White House maintains that there were high-level contacts between France and the United States before the announcement of the security agreement between Washington, Canberra and London – called AUKUS. Paris rejected a claim.

On 17 September, France withdrew its ambassadors to Canberra and Washington in an unprecedented gesture, and the next day, the head of French diplomacy Jean-Yves Le Drian called “a great breach of trust” and a “serious crisis”. . To justify its decision, Australia says it had “serious objections” to French submarines. On 20 September, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, judges the way France has been treated “unacceptably”.

  • France and the United States explain themselves

Presidents Emmanuel Macron and Joe Biden agreed by telephone on 22 September that “open consultations between allies” “made it possible to avoid” this diplomatic crisis. The President of the Republic announced the return of the French Ambassador to Washington.

The Australian prime minister promised “patience” to restore ties with France. The AUKUS alliance by Australia with the United States and the United Kingdom “does not change France’s Indo-Pacific strategy”, assuring Mr Macron on 28 September. Long-planned talks on a potential free trade agreement (FTA) between Australia and the European Union have been postponed. The French ambassador to Australia will return to Canberra, Paris announced on 6 October.

  • Lies” and Morrison’s failure in the elections
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On 1 November, Emmanuel Macron claimed to “know” that the Australian prime minister had lied to him on the matter. Australia officially joined the AUKUS Defense Coalition on 22 November. On May 26, 2022, a day after Scott Morrison’s defeat in the legislative elections, Emmanuel Macron and new Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese want to “rebuild a relationship” of “trust”, indicates Elysee.

On 11 June, Australia disclosed a compensation agreement with Naval Group for 555 million euros, reaffirming a “fair deal”. France, through the voice of the Minister of the Armed Forces, Sebastien Lecornu, “takes note” and believes that the agreement allows “opening a new page” in relations with Canberra.

Overall, the failure of the French submarine contract would cost Australian taxpayers $2.4 billion, specifies Anthony Albanese.

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About the Author: Forrest Morton

Organizer. Zombie aficionado. Wannabe reader. Passionate writer. Twitter lover. Music scholar. Web expert.

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