EU civil war: Denmark backs Washington in submarine row with France and Brussels

France slammed over Australia submarine row by Chris Smith

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Becoming the first EU nation to breakaway, Copenhagen defended US President Joe Biden as “very loyal” to Europe despite facilitating the AUKUS military pact. Paris is furious that Canberra cancelled its contract to buy French-built submarines in favour of nuclear-powered technology from the US and UK. Danish prime minister Mette Frederiksen said: “I think it’s important to say – given the talks going on in Europe right now – that I see Biden as very loyal to the transatlantic alliance.

“And in general, we should not turn concrete challenges, which will always exist between allies, into something they should not be.

“I would very much warn against this.”

In an interview with a Danish newspaper, Ms Frederiksen was asked whether she understood the criticism emerging out of Paris and Brussels.

He fumed: “No, I don’t understand it, I don’t understand it at all.

“That doesn’t mean that we in the Danish government necessarily agree with the US on everything, and we also said that we would have liked to see a different exit from Afghanistan, but I feel no frustration with the US administration.”

Denmark has been a longterm ally of Washington, sending troops to Afghanistan and Iraq and regularly prioritising Nato commitments over European defence issues.

Ms Frederiksen said: “There is no doubt that Joe Biden is distancing the US’ foreign policy from a very isolationist position.”

But Washington was moving “to once again take on the role of world leadership, a role only the United States can take on,” she added.

“And if the United States doesn’t do it, no one else can take their place.”

Paris has been lobbying EU nations to back it in the dispute over its halted submarine contract with Australia.

Canberra had agreed to purchase 12 diesel-electric vehicles from France, worth some £27 billion, but pulled out to join the AUKUS military pact with Washington and London.

The EU Commission has held talks on the possible consequences of the move, and is already pondering whether to scrap its trade talks with Australia and technical meetings with the US.

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Commission vice-president Valdis Dombrovskis said: “We’ve discussed the implications of AUKUS for the EU.

“We stay in solidarity with France and consider that US, UK and Australia are our allies and friends… and it’s important that allies and friends are talking to each other and open to discuss problematic issues.”

His boss Commission President Ursula von der Leyen struck a much tougher tone with her own intervention.

She said: “One of our member states has been treated in a way that is not acceptable.

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“We want to know what happened and why, and therefore, you first of all clarify that before you keep going on with business as usual.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson today suggested France needs “to get a grip” amid anger over the AUKUS pact.

He said: “What I want to say about that is I just think it’s time for some of our dearest friends around the world to prenez un grip [get a grip] about all this and donnez-moi un break [give me a break].

“This is fundamentally a great step forward for global security. It’s three very like-minded allies standing shoulder to shoulder and creating a new partnership for the sharing of technology.

“It’s not exclusive, it’s not trying to shoulder anybody out. It is not adversarial towards China, for instance.

“It is there to intensify links and friendship between three countries in a way that I think will be beneficial for things that we believe in.”

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