Heiko Maas criticizes the cancelled submarine deal with France
The foreign minister describes the pact between the USA, Great Britain and Australia as “irritating”. He could well understand the anger of the French.
Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) has criticized the US’s new security alliance with Australia and Great Britain in the Indo-Pacific. “What was decided there and how this decision came about is irritating. And it is sobering not only for France,” said Maas before US President Joe Biden’s speech at the beginning of the UN general debate in New York.
The United States, Great Britain and Australia signed a security pact for the Indo-Pacific region last week, which includes the United States helping Australia build nuclear-powered submarines. The agreement with the US prompted the Australian government to cancel a long-term submarine deal with France.
So far, the federal government has been very cautious about the alliance. However, Maas has now become clearer in New York: “What we see there has made a lot more difficult. And I fear that it will remain difficult for a while,” said Maas. “I can understand the anger of our French friends,” he added.
Maas said that he did not see any new “hardening” about the USA. But he never had any illusions that there would be no problems with the fresh US President Biden. One will now have to think in Europe about how to achieve more sovereignty. “It will ultimately be up to us in Europe, whether we can manage it or not.”
The EU also pledged its support to France: the preparations for trade and technology talks with the USA at the end of September were postponed. At a meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, the foreign ministers of the other 26 member states also expressed “their clear solidarity with France”, said EU foreign affairs representative Josep Borrell.