Aussie Prime Minister Scott Morrison slammed French President Emmanuel Macron’s trustworthiness. This happened after a newspaper reported on a text exchange, indicating France was expecting “bad news” regarding a now-canceled submarine agreement.
This is not the only cause for tension between the allies recently. French fishing boats are threatening to blockade the British island of Jersey in the English Channel. The French government also seeks to cut off the islands power supply over the same issue.
It Seems the French Knew It Was Coming
Biden clarified to Macron last week the US assumed the French had already been notified about the September declaration. This declaration noted the $90 billion nuclear sub-agreement with Australia would be scrapped and it was called into question by an Australian daily paper.
Macron charged Morrison of misleading him about the status of a 5-year-old deal (with the majority-owned French Navy Organization) to build 12 conventional diesel-electric subs over a Paris meal in June.
When Australia forged an agreement with the United States and the United Kingdom to purchase a fleet of eight nuclear-powered boats built with American technology, the contract was scrapped.
Scott Morrison finds himself in a jam with Emmanuel Macron over sunken sub contract
French only build nuclear subs. Australia says we want diesel so French change design. Australia sign contract then says no because not nuclear. No wonder French unhappy. https://t.co/E0VkKn4Cyq
— Mal Peters (@peters_malcolm) November 1, 2021
Morrison told journalists accompanying him to a United Nations climate summit in Glasgow he informed Macron at their June meal that traditional submarines would not fulfill Australia’s shifting strategic priorities.
Morrison tried calling Macron with the information two days before Morrison, Biden, as well as Prime Minister Boris Johnson, revealed the nuclear sub pact; however, the French president texted back, stating he was not able to chat, according to the Australian paper.
“Should I expect decent or negative news for our combined submarine aspirations?” Macron questioned, according to the publication.
Morrison did not immediately respond to a writer’s question about why he decided to leak the text exchange after Macron charged him with lying.
PM @ScottMorrisonMP hits back at French President @EmmanuelMacron, who has accused him of lying over the cancelled subs deal.
"I am not going cop sledging of Australia."
To be precise, Mr Macron did say: 'I have a lot of respect and a lot of friendship for your people.'#auspol pic.twitter.com/n8kvHBPb6Z
— Michael Rowland (@mjrowland68) November 1, 2021
Austalia Sticks it to the French
“I’m not going to engage your op-ed piece on it,” Morrison said. “What I should say is this: we were consulted while we were looking to set up the call.”
“Also, he made it quite clear that he was worried this would be a phone call that might result in Australia’s judgment not to move ahead with the agreement.”
The contract termination, which Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian characterized as a “knife in the back,” caught the French government off guard, officials claimed.
The nuclear sub-contract, according to Macron, is “extremely poor news for Australia’s reputation and very bad news for the confidence great partners may have with Sydney.”
Macron’s claim of lying, which Morrison disputes, was a slander against Australia, according to Morrison. Most Australians regard it as a personal affront to Morrison.
“I don’t want to personalize something; from my standpoint, there’s no aspect of that,” Morrison said.