The European Union has delayed the negotiations with Australia on signing a trade agreement, amidst the scandal around Canberra's decision to cancel the deal with France on the purchase of submarines. Dan Tehan, the Australian Minister for Trade said this in a commentary for Reuters.
"Australia last month cancelled a deal with France's Naval Group to build a fleet of conventional submarines and will instead build at least eight nuclear-powered submarines with U.S. and British technology after striking a trilateral security partnership with those two countries. The cancellation has angered France, which accused both Australia and the United States of stabbing it in the back. Paris recalled its ambassadors from both Canberra and Washington", reads the article.
Tehan said he is going to meet with his EU colleague Valdis Dombrovskis next week. They are supposed to talk about the 12th round of bilateral negotiations, which has moved to November instead of October, as it was planned initially. The Australian official refused to comment on the role of the submarine deal in the stalling of negotiations.
In 2016, Canberra and Paris signed a deal, according to which France was supposed to build 12 conventional submarines for Australia. In September 2021, the US, UK and Australia announced the creation of AUKUS, the new bloc against China. Washington and London promised to help Canberra create its own fleet of nuclear subs. Consequently, Australia broke the deal with France, which was worth 56 billion euros.
The French government claimed it would recall the ambassadors in the United States and Australia for consultations, protesting against the AUKUS deal.