Australia to repair sunken relationship with France after scrapped submarine deal

Image - Anthony Albanese: Marco Urban - Flickr

After cancelling a multi-billion-dollar contract with French firm Naval Group in 2021 and infuriating French president Emmanuel Macron in the process, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese intends to “reset” relations with France.

The submarine deal broke down last year when then Australian prime minister Scott Morrison instead signed defence pact Aukus with the US and UK. Macron accused Morrison of lying to him about the contract and tensions erupted between the countries as a result. The cancellation of the French-Australian contract to build diesel-powered submarines was announced only a couple of hours prior to the public reveal of Aukus.

Aukus is widely regarded as an effort to curb China’s growing power. It was a security pact between Australia, the US and the UK to build nuclear-powered submarines (although unarmed) and to promote the sharing of intelligence between the three powers.

Anthony Albanese was elected as Australia’s new Prime Minister in May 2022 and has stated that he and Macron have already had “constructive discussions” ahead of the NATO summit held in Madrid this year.

Australia has proposed a £476 million settlement with France’s Naval Group as compensation for cancelling the submarine deal and signing the Aukus deal instead. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has also visited the Australian Prime Minister to visit his country whilst in Europe.

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Annie Dabb

From Newcastle originally, Annie is based in Manchester and is a writer for the Euro Weekly News covering news and features. Got a story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]