French President Expresses Anger over France Being Cut from Nuclear Submarine Deal

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French President, Emmanuel Macron is expressing anger over the fact that Paris has been cut out of a nuclear submarine construction deal with Australia according to a report by the Conservative Brief.  Earlier, a deal had been arranged for a dozen French diesel submarines to the tune of 66 billion.  The new agreement was done without the knowledge of France in an effort by the United States, United Kingdom and Australia to restrict an expanding and aggressive China.  The new agreement cut France completely out of the deal.  After the announcement of the deal, Macron recalled ambassadors to Washington and cancelled some events.  The public reaction comes as an opponent and rival is closing in on an upcoming election and Macron wants to appear as “tough.” 

He also wants Europe to strengthen its own defense capabilities.  While President Biden has been in contact with Macron, officials in the UK and Australia have remained unconcerned about the new agreement.  As time passes, the French leader may look for ways to gain favor with French allies by relaxing COVID-19 travel restrictions into France or additional aid to the US to support French troops fighting Islamic extremists in Africa.  However, there may not be much that can be done as European leaders are skeptical of any reduction of American support in regions being threatened by Russia. 

France and the Submarine Deal

The aim of France in signing the original deal was to develop a partnership which would have lasted over several years with the largest nation in the South Pacific.  This would have reinforced its diplomatic and military network in a strategic area.  Although the plan was ambitious in its goals there were nonetheless some weaknesses on the part of France that led to the collapse of the deal.  Recent tensions with China strengthened the ties between Australia and the US.  The US also has a network of military bases in the region which it monitors closely having political associations and the state of Hawaii.  Australia is also tied to this situation.  The US had an interest in seeing the agreement replaced by the one with Washington ensuring American over the fleet of submarines .  

In a report by The Hill, it was revealed that Naval Group CEO, Eric Pommellet told a French newspaper he would be sending a bill to Australia for the lost revenue calling the termination of the contract a matter of convenience rather than the fault of the company.  The CEO stated this will cover the costs incurred by the company and future costs which damaged the infrastructure, IT costs and costs related to redeployment of employees.  Pommellet also stated that monies had already been used towards the deal and that France was not notified before the deal was terminated.  He was quoted as saying, “We were in shock. This decision was announced to us without any notice,” Pommellet said. “Very few companies have experienced such a [brutal] scenario.”   

Biden to Meet with Macron To Further Diplomacy

President Biden plans to meet with the French President in October in an attempt to mend the ties that were damaged as a result of the termination of the nuclear submarine deal.   In a joint statement, the two countries said Biden and Macron “agreed that the situation would have benefited from open consultations among allies on matters of strategic interest to France and our European partners.” 

Meanwhile, Europe has issues with increasing energy costs and this is a situation to watch as it may become a problem in the United States as well. Further talks on energy are also likely to be on the table as the situation escalates.