Before trade talks, EU seeks apology from Australia over France’s treatment in Aukus row

WION Web Team
Paris Published: Sep 21, 2021, 03:44 PM(IST)

Ursula von der Leyen (file photo). Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

European Union officials are demanding answers and an apology from Australia over its treatment of France in Aukus row before talks on a trade deal. The Morrison government has entered into a partnership with the United States and United Kingdom in the Aukus agreement. It also cancelled a $90bn submarine contract with the French. The French have claimed to have been “blindsided” by the announcement

As the fallout from the Aukus announcement threatens to delay an important trade deal, European Union (EU) officials are demanding answers and an apology from Australia over its treatment of France.  

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Australia’s hopes of entering into a free-trade deal with the EU seems to have hit a roadblock as the EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen is demanding Canberra’s explanation on its conduct with EU member state, France. 

While entering into a partnership with the United States and United Kingdom in a new agreement named as Aukus, the Morrison government announced it was cancelling its $90bn submarine contract with the French.  

Also Read | Aukus could trigger a 'nuclear arms race': North Korea

The French have claimed to have been “blindsided” by the announcement. Although attempts have been made to soothe the controversy, the French recalled their ambassador and have asked the EU to reconsider Australia’s involvement in a free-trade deal with it.  

The trade talks with Australia are expected to continue as planned.   

Also Read: Amid nuclear submarine contract row, Biden seeks early talks with Macron to clear air  

“One of our member states has been treated in a way that is not acceptable, so we want to know what happened and why. Therefore, you first of all clarify that, before you keep on going with business as usual,” von der Leyen said.

(With inputs from agencies) 

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