France cautions Brexit talks over Britain’s ‘breach of trust’ over submarine deal


France has warned that upcoming Brexit talks are under threat due to Britain’s “breach of trust” over the AUKUS submarine deal.

French European Affairs Minister Clément Beaune said he would raise the trade pact during a meeting with his European counterparts in Brussels after they were excluded from the secret deal.

He told reporters: “We see with Brexit, we see with Project AUKUS, that we must first restore confidence… we have to discuss together. We are not in that context at the moment.

France warns upcoming Brexit talks at risk due to Britain’s “breach of trust” over AUKUS submarine deal

In a thinly veiled attack on Boris Johnson, he added that the UK joined as a “junior partner” after facing “pressure” from Joe Biden.

Talks are planned between Britain and the EU on the Northern Ireland Protocol and post-Brexit fishing rights.

But these could be hampered by the new deal, Beaune suggested.

He said: “There is a difficult relationship with the UK. We have signed an agreement and we still see today that when it comes to fisheries and the Irish protocol, these agreements are not well implemented and are not being implemented. not fully respected.

“So we want to be extremely clear and reiterate that the agreement must be respected. It is also a question of trust, of speech, of respect for the interests of Europeans. We cannot say that we take the things that are right for us and forget about the things that are not suitable for us.

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The Indo-Pacific security pact will see Australia cancel a multibillion-dollar contract to buy French diesel-electric submarines and instead acquire nuclear-powered US ships.

In a direct attack, Beaune added that the UK had joined as

In a direct attack, Beaune added that the UK joined as a “junior partner” after facing “pressure” from Joe Biden.

The French government is hinting that it has been betrayed by the deal, which comes in the run-up to elections in France in April.

“It’s a matter of trust,” Beaune said. “When you have your word, it has a certain value between allies, between democracies, between partners and in this case this word has not been respected … so of course that creates a breach of trust.”

“We have to be firm, not as French people but as Europeans, because it is about how we work together as allies,” he said.

German Europe Minister Michael Roth said France’s diplomatic crisis with the United States was a “wake-up call for all of us” to the importance of uniting an often divided EU on foreign policy and security.

Europe has broken its silence and supported a furious France, which accused the United States, Australia and Britain of working behind its back to negotiate their defense pact.

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The show of solidarity by Germany and senior EU officials was welcomed by France, which said the breakdown in trust with Washington strengthens the case for Europe to set its own strategic course.

Beaune called the dispute a “European question” and not just a French one, as he arrived at ministerial talks in Brussels, with the chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan in August also causing irritation among members of the ‘EU.

“I don’t think France is overreacting and I don’t think France should overreact. But when a situation (…) is serious, I think it is also our responsibility to ‘state very clearly,’ he said.

Indo-Pacific security pact will see Australia cancel multibillion-dollar contract to buy French diesel-electric submarines (pictured)

Indo-Pacific security pact will see Australia cancel multibillion-dollar contract to buy French diesel-electric submarines (pictured)

The European Commission has said it is examining whether the diplomatic storm will affect the meeting of a new EU-U.S. Trade and Technology Council in Pittsburgh on September 29 to discuss ways to cooperate on trade and regulate great technologies.

“We are analyzing the impact that the announcement of AUKUS would have on that date,” said European Commission spokesperson Eric Mamer.

An EU diplomat said France had “pitched” the idea of ​​delaying the TTC meeting, despite facing opposition from the Baltic republics, which border Russia and place great importance on it. NATO alliance.

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The European Commission, which manages the trade policies of the 27 EU member states, already announced on Monday that it plans to delay negotiations with Australia over Canberra’s three-year offer to strike a trade deal with the ‘EU.

“It’s up to the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, to decide,” said another EU diplomat, referring to the chairman of the committee, the EU director general.

Von der Leyen, former German defense minister, said on Monday that the way France had been treated was “unacceptable”, although she gave no indication of the fate of the trade talks.

Arnoldas Pranckevicius, Lithuanian deputy minister for European affairs, told reporters that overcoming mistrust would be in the interests of Europe and the United States and that his government would be “the last … to defend transatlantic unity “.

Swedish EU Minister Hans Dahlgren also expressed reservations, saying he understood the French irritation but wanted more details on what happened during the submarine deal.

“I don’t think we should restructure EU trade policy because of this,” he said.

The creation of an EU-US technical council was agreed at a summit in June. Washington was expected to use it to seek deeper support from Europeans to curb the ambitions of China’s emerging superpower.