The EU’s Michel denounces the US’s “lack of loyalty.”
After Australia terminated a mega-contract with France to buy US nuclear submarines, EU chief Charles Michel accused the US of being untrustworthy.
“Transparency and trust are the foundational values for allies, and they go hand in hand. So, what do we notice? At the United Nations, we see a clear lack of transparency and loyalty,” the European Council chief told reporters.
According to him, Europeans need to “clarify and try to grasp better what the motives behind this announcement are.”
The action, according to Michel, will bolster European attempts to develop their own defense capabilities.
He explained that such a move would be “not against our partners,” but rather “because if we are stronger and more robust, then our alliances are also stronger.”
Michel expressed unhappiness with US Vice President Joe Biden, who took office with the promise of strengthening ties after his controversial predecessor Donald Trump.
“At least with Trump, it was very evident — the tone, the substance, the language – that the EU was not in his eyes a valuable partner, a useful ally,” Michel added.
In the face of escalating tensions with China, Australia said it understood France’s dismay, but that its conventional submarines are insufficient to maintain the country’s undersea edge for decades.
The action has infuriated France, with Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian accusing Australia of “backstabbing” and the US of betrayal.
The contract decision was hailed as “a thunderbolt first for France, but also for Europe and the globe on a geostrategic level” by Belgian Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmes, who was also at the United Nations.
She believes Europe has to be “more loud” and “present on the international scene.”
In a meeting of EU foreign ministers on the fringes of the United Nations later Monday, she expressed hope for a common ground, though officials said France was not pushing for a formal statement of support.