AUKUS: France is afraid of becoming isolated says expert
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Officials in France have claimed the United Kingdom plays a subordinate role in the historic AUKUS alliance signed with the United States and Australia. Details of the deal emerged last week after a joint press conference was virtually held by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, US President Joe Biden and Australian premier Scott Morrison.
The French feel particularly aggrieved by Australia’s decision to cancel the €56billion deal to buy 12 diesel-electric submarines from France.
Paris responded by describing Canberra’s actions as a “stab in the back” and by recalling its ambassadors from Down Under and across the pond.
But now they have also appeared to open-fire on Brexit Britain.
French defence ministers had been scheduled to hold a summit with their UK counterparts later this week.
However, they have since opted to pull the plug on the meeting.
France’s Europe Minister Clément Beaune has also echoed some old-school Gaullism during an interview with a French TV network.
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Mr Beaune said: “Our British friends explained to us that they were leaving the EU to create Global Britain.
“As you can see, it is a return to the American fold and accepting a form of vassal status.”
He added: “Global Britain seems to be more about [being] a junior partner of the UK than working with different allies.”
His colleague, Jean-Yves Le Drian, has also suggested the UK will play a subordinate role in AUKUS.
“Great Britain in this matter is a bit of a fifth wheel on the carriage,” he said.
The French Foreign Affairs Minister later added: “We know their constant opportunism.”
But some Brexit-backing commentators on this side of the English Channel have called out Paris’ response to the historic defence agreement.
The former UKIP leader Nigel Farage accused the French of throwing their “toys out of the pram” on Twitter.
He said: “The French have thrown their toys out of the pram and withdrawn their Ambassadors from the USA and Australia.”
Mr Farage added: “The Anglosphere is back and they hate it!”
But once cordial Anglo-French relations seem to have soured since the UK voted to leave the European Union in 2016.
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Earlier, this year French President Emmanuel Macron claimed Vote Leave’s epic victory was the product of “lies and false promises”.
During post-Brexit trade negotiations between Brussels and London, Macron also positioned himself as one of the EU’s hardliners when he decided to drive a hard-bargain on retaining European access to the UK’s fishing waters.
Amidst the current diplomatic tensions, Euronews also reports fishermen across the Channel have gathered at Armanville beach to air their grievances about the expiration of French fishing rights.
This comes just months after dozens of French boats opted to blockade the port of Saint Helier in Jersey.
The UK Government responded to the blockade by sending two Royal Navy vessels to patrol around the Channel Island until the French backed down.
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