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French submarines: Australia compensates Naval Group for breach of contract

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Australia’s new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the French company had agreed to a just and fair settlement of 555 million euros (746 million dollars) for the rupture of the gigantic contract of 56 billion euros (75 billion dollars) which had caused a diplomatic crisis between Paris and Canberra last fall.

France, through the Minister for the Armed Forces, takes note of this agreement. This agreement is important because it will allow us to open a new page in our bilateral relationship with Australia and to look forwardSébastien Lecornu told journalists in Singapore, where the Asia-Pacific defense and security forum called Shangri-La Dialogue is taking place.

Minister Lecornu was due to meet his Australian counterpart Richard Marles, from the newly elected Australian Labor government, on the sidelines of the forum on Saturday.

OK fair

A little earlier, Naval Group had welcomed an agreement fair, using the term of the head of the Australian government. The majority state-owned group says it has accompanied its French and Australian partners and subcontractors in their efforts.

For the CFDT union, the first union organization at Naval Group, it’s rather good news that it ends fairly quickly rather than going into litigation that could last for yearsaccording to David Robin, central trade union representative in Cherbourg.

Since the termination of the contract, we bounced back and we also do not despair of having another export contract as we had for Brazil, India, Malaysiahe told theAFP.

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In September 2021, then Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison suddenly terminated the French contract that had been in preparation for a decade.

A breach of contract that did not pass

The head of the Australian government had announced that his country would buy American or British nuclear-powered submarines, a major change for a country with weak nuclear capabilities.

Mr. Morrison then drew the wrath of French President Emmanuel Macron. Relations between the two countries remained frosty until the election in May of centre-left Mr Albanese.

He hastened to restore tense relations with France, New Zealand and the Pacific island nations which criticized the previous Conservative government for its slowness in the fight against climate change.

Mr. Albanese said he will soon travel to France to reset the relationship.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue forum, Lecornu said France cherished its friendship with Australia.

The French Minister for the Armed Forces, Sébastien Lecornu

Photo: Reuters/Gonzalo Fuentes

It is not because a government in history has broken its word that we should forget our strategic relationship. »

A quote from Sébastien Lecornu, French Minister for the Armed Forces

In total, the failure of the French submarine contract will have cost Australian taxpayers 2.4 billion $AUS (2.7 billion $CAN), specified their Prime Minister.

The submarine contract is the centerpiece of Australia’s defense strategy against China’s growing influence in the region under Xi Jinping’s presidency.

A US nuclear-powered submarine

Photo: Reuters

Nuclear-powered submarines could allow Australia to operate in a more stealthy and deterrent way vis-à-vis China.

However, there is great uncertainty about when Australia will actually be able to own these devices. The first American or British submarine is unlikely to be in service for decades.

Former defense minister and current opposition leader Peter Dutton said this week he had decided to source supplies from the United States, an unusual revelation given the sensitivity of the ongoing negotiations.

The current government has insisted that no decision has yet been made. At the same time, Mr. Albanese took steps to resume dialogue at ministerial level with China.

Australian Defense Minister Richard Marles said in Singapore on Saturday that Australia is keen to maintain relations respectful with all the countries of the region, adding: This includes China.

Australia values ​​a productive relationship with China. China is not going to leave and we all need to live together and hopefully prosper togetherdid he declare.

Asked by a Chinese military official whether the so-called AUKUS deal with the US and UK for the supply of submarine technology was a new defense alliance, Mr Marles claimed that theNATO“,”text”:”AUKUS is not a mini-NATO”}}”>AUKUS is not a mini-NATO.

It’s not a covenanthe added.

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