France has threatened to pull Brexit into a diplomatic spat over the United Kingdom’s submarine contract with Australia and the United States.
ACCORDING TO FRENCH EUROPE MINISTER CLEMENT BEAUNE, the UK’s decision to side with Washington and Canberra in the conflict will have an impact on the talks to resolve post-Brexit border issues in Northern Ireland. “We see with Brexit, we see with the AUKUS project, that we first need to rebuild confidence… we need to discuss together,” he said before an EU ministerial meeting in Brussels. “We are not in this context at the moment.”
He claimed that signing up to the AUKUS military accord had harmed cross-Channel “trust.”
In a clear shot at Boris Johnson, he said the UK joined the alliance as a “junior partner” after US President Joe Biden put pressure on him. Before the AUKUS partnership was revealed, Mr Beaune claimed that disagreements over Northern Ireland and post-Brexit fishing rights had already harmed trust.
“We have a tense relationship with the United Kingdom,” he added. “We signed an agreement, and we still see today that in terms of fishing and the Irish protocol, these agreements are not well applied, and they are not fully respected.”
“So we want to be extremely clear and repeat that the agreement must be respected. It is also a question of trust, of keeping your word, of respecting the interests of Europeans. We can’t say we take the things that suit us and forget about the ones that don’t.”
He vowed to maintain Paris’ tough stance on the submarine treaty, which saw Australia cancel a deal with France to buy diesel-powered ships.
Mr Beaune told reporters, “It creates a difficult situation we have to be lucid, we have to be aware we have to be firm.”
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“That’s as French but as Europeans because it’s a matter of the way we work together as allies that we remain particularly between the US and the EU.”
In the conflict over the AUKUS military alliance, Germany is expected to take France’s side.