EU Demands Clarification on AUKUS Deal
The EU reveals it was not aware of the security deal between Australia, the UK, and the US, while the British PM discloses the deal is not meant to be "adversarial"
The EU's Foreign Affairs chief, Josep Borrell, said he understood France's disappointment in relation to Australia's cancellation of its major defense deal with Paris.
In a press conference, Borrell divulged that he did not know the US, UK, and Australia had reached an agreement on security and defense partnership, speculating that such a deal likely was not "cooked the day before yesterday." Borrell expressed he understood France's disappointment, as well as that of other EU members.
The EU announced on Thursday that it needs more information on the new AUKUS partnership, stressing that it was not informed of the deal.
“The EU was not informed about this project or about this initiative and we are in contact with the said partners to find out more," European Commission spokesman Peter Stano announced.
Stano added that the EU will have to discuss the initiative within the EU and with member states to assess implications.
In the UK, British PM Boris Johnson attempted to relieve France while addressing Parliament, explaining that "It is important for the House to understand that AUKUS is not intended to be adversarial towards any other power," adding that it has no effect on the UK's relations with NATO.
While answering a question about China's worries regarding the pact, Johnson stated that the pact reflects the close partnership between the US, Australia, and the UK, and their common values and level of trust.
These statements surround the backdrop of the formation of a strategic security coalition in the Indo-Pacific region, comprising the US, UK, and Australia, whereby the UK and UK vowed to help Australia acquire nuclear submarines.
According to the Joint Leaders Statement on AUKUS, the alliance aims to "Promote deeper information and technology sharing. We will foster deeper integration of security and defense-related science, technology, industrial bases, and supply chains. And in particular, we will significantly deepen cooperation on a range of security and defense capabilities."
France was outraged by the pact, as Australia was set to purchase submarines from France, in accordance with a deal signed in February 2019. In accordance with the said deal, Australia was to purchase 12 conventional submarines from France for $50 billion, which the French called the "contract of the century."
The French Foreign Ministry described the incident as a "betrayal," detailing that the American decision leads to the exclusion of a European ally and partner signals a lack of consistency which France can only "notice and regret."