European Parliament trade official says Australia’s cancellation of French submarine contract will complicate and delay negotiations on Australia-EU free trade agreement
Australia’s decision to end the A $ 90 billion ($ 66 billion) deal was “a kind of attack on European interests,” said Bernd Lange, German lawmaker and chairman of the committee. of international trade from the European Parliament.
“It’s more complicated,” Lange told Australian Broadcasting Corp. about the negotiations which followed the French snub.
“The question of trust arises now and some members might ask for more safety nets and more guarantees in such a deal, so I guess dialogue and negotiation will take longer,” Lange added.
“It is a matter of seriousness and reliability in Australia. Therefore, there is a discussion of how to deal with the trade deal now, but I guess there is no clear commitment to stop negotiation, ”Lange said.
“Now the confidence is lacking,” he added.
France responded by recalling its ambassadors from the United States and Australia.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Monday that there was a “crisis of confidence” in the United States.
Australian Trade Minister Dan Tehan said he saw “no reason why these talks should not continue”.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison continued to deny French claims that they only learned about the nuclear submarine deal on the day it was announced.
“It would be naive to think that a decision of this nature was not going to disappoint, of course, the French. We understand this. We totally recognize that, ”Morrison told reporters in New York City ahead of a meeting with Biden and the Indian and Japanese leaders who make up the Quad Safety Forum.
“It was not possible for us to discuss such secure matters in our relations with other countries at that time. We said very clearly, I had said it very clearly, that a conventional submarine would no longer meet our strategic interests and what we needed these ships to do. This had been communicated very clearly several months ago, ”added Morrison.