EU Blasts US for 'Lack of Loyalty'
European Union chief Charles Michel denounced the United States' lack of loyalty following AUKUS, which saw Australia bailing on France in a submarine deal.
On Monday, the European Council President Charles Michel accused the United States of 'lack of loyalty' in light of the canceled multi-billion-dollar deal between Australia and France, which Canberra backed out of as a result of the AUKUS alliance. The alliance would see Australia obtaining nuclear-powered submarines from its allies, the United States and the United Kingdom.
"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," Michel told reporters at the United Nations.
The EU chief asserted that the Europeans need to clarify and understand better the intentions behind this announcement. He added that it would reinforce European efforts to build their own defensive capabilities.
He said such a move would "not [be] against our allies, but because if we are stronger and if we are more robust, then it means that our alliances are also stronger."
Michel expressed his disappointment in Democrat US President Joe Biden, who promised to mend America's relations with its allies after the four-year-long period of isolation the country went through under Republican Donald Trump.
He asserted that with Trump, "at least 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."
Ahead of the EU's words, Australia said it understood France's disappointment. However, it cited the insufficiency of its submarines to keep its country's edge for decades to come, 'amid rising tensions with China,' as a reason for its withdrawal from the deal.
France did not shy away from expressing its dissatisfaction with the Australian withdrawal, as the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs made a statement on the same day as the announcement of AUKUS saying the decision to go with US submarines was "contrary to the letter and the spirit of the cooperation that prevailed between France and Australia."
French Foreign Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, accused Australia of 'back-stabbing' in addition to accusing America of betrayal.
The withdrawal was labeled a 'thunderbolt for Europe' by Belgian Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmes, as she said it was "a thunderbolt first for France but also for Europe and for the world on a geostrategic level."
She also asserted that Europe must be more vocal on the international stage and reinforce its presence on it.
The minister hoped to reach common grounds in an EU foreign ministers meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations. However, diplomats affirmed that France would not be pushing for any formal statement of support.