France to bill Australia over canceled submarine deal
A French defense contractor will bill Australia after a multibillion-dollar deal was canceled due to a new submarine agreement Canberra made with the United States and United Kingdom.
Naval Group CEO Pierre Eric Pommellet told French newspaper Le Figaro that his company would send the bill in “in a few weeks,” according to Agence France-Presse.
Pommellet said the contract was terminated for “convenience,” meaning that the company is “not at fault.”
“It is a case that is planned for in the contract and will require a payment of our costs that were incurred and those to come, linked to demobilization of infrastructure and IT as well as the redeployment of employees,” Pommellet added, according to AFP. “We will assert our rights.”
France has reacted angrily to the new trilateral security partnership, dubbed AUKUS, which aims to deliver nuclear-powered submarines to Australia. The new submarine agreement voided an earlier deal between Australia and France worth $66 billion for 12 conventional diesel-electric submarines.
President Biden spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron about the deal on Wednesday. According to a readout of the call, the leaders agreed that the situation would have benefited from “open consultations” with allies.
The French defense ministry has said that Naval Group — which is partially owned by France — had already completed an estimated $1.1 billion in work on the submarines but has suffered no losses, according to AFP.
Pommellet told Le Figaro that the company was not notified before the AUKUS submarine deal was announced, according to The Washington Post.
“We were in shock. This decision was announced to us without any notice,” Pommellet said. “Very few companies have experienced such a [brutal] scenario.”