France and Australia open a new chapter in their relationship after the submarine crisis

French President Emmanuel Macron and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese shake hands this Friday in Paris. afp

They sealed the peace after the oceanic nation canceled a multi-million dollar contract after allying with the United States to use its military technology

French President Emmanuel Macron and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese opened a “new chapter” in relations between their two countries this Friday and hoped to leave the so-called submarine crisis behind. The two leaders pledged to build “closer and solid bilateral relations, based on trust and mutual respect,” according to a joint statement.

Relations between Paris and Canberra have been badly damaged after Australia’s previous conservative government, Scott Morrison, unilaterally breached the “contract of the century” for the purchase of French submarines.

Asked by a journalist if he expected an apology from Albanese for what happened, Macron simply said: “Let’s talk about the future, not the past. He is not responsible for what happened.”

Albanese, the prime minister elected in May, stressed the importance of the relationship that binds the two countries. “Australia’s relations with France are important. Trust, respect and honesty are important,” said the Labor politician, recalling that France “is not only a great European power, but a power in the Indo-Pacific and globally.”

The Australian government earlier in September 2021 canceled a contract to buy 12 conventionally powered submarines from France for $56,000 million.

Canberra canceled the millionaire’s contract after reaching an agreement with the United States and Britain for the formation of Aukus, a strategic military alliance to counter Chinese advances in the Indo-Pacific region. This agreement allowed him to have access to American technology for the construction of nuclear submarines.

The cancellation of the contract led to a diplomatic crisis. Annoyed by the breach of contract without giving them advance notice, Paris summoned its ambassadors to the United States and Australia in protest, an unusual gesture among allies. The Elysée Palace considered Washington thwarted a commercial agreement for Australia’s purchase of French submarines.

Three weeks ago, the oceanic nation announced that it would compensate the French company Naval Group with €555 million for unilaterally violating the contract for the purchase of French submarines.

Roderick Gilbert

"Entrepreneur. Internet fanatic. Certified zombie scholar. Friendly troublemaker. Bacon expert."

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