After the sub-row, the EU chief reaffirms the alliance with the US, but says there are still “a lot of questions” that need to be answered.
The fallout between the United States and the European Union over the cancellation of a lucrative submarine deal for France last week continues to loom over this week’s United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York City.
In her address to world leaders, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Union’s governing European Commission, came in New York on Sunday with a focus on supporting enhanced global efforts to battle climate change. Instead, her schedule has been dominated by inquiries about the European Union’s position on the US-French spat and whether it signals a wider schism within the transatlantic partnership.
Von der Leyen was asked on CNN on Tuesday morning by host Christine Amanapour if the submarine crisis will divide the EU and the US at a time when they are attempting to counter a growing China. The European Union’s chief disagreed, declaring that any attempt to exploit the two countries’ differences would fail.
“We will not allow that to happen because we know who our friends and allies are,” von der Leyen added, noting that the cooperation was founded on “shared principles and interests.”
On the submarine pact, she stated that the US and its allies, the UK and Australia, must explain “a lot of questions” as to why they appeared to force France out of the arrangement. She explained that relations would not be able to return to “business as usual” until the decision was fully explained.
“We want to know what happened and why one of our member nations was treated in an unacceptable manner,” von der Leyen added.
Last week, Australia backed out of a multibillion-dollar submarine contract with France, opting instead to buy nuclear-powered ships from the United States and the United Kingdom. The decision infuriated France, which claims it was kept in the dark about Australia’s decision until shortly before the news conference announcing the move. In return, Paris withdrew its ambassadors from Washington and Canberra, describing the move as a “stab in the back” by the French foreign minister.
On Tuesday, European ministers rallied around France in response to the United States’ and Australia’s decision to terminate a submarine supply contract with France. France’s diplomatic crisis with the United States, according to German Europe Minister Michael Roth, is a “wake-up call for all of us” about the need of uniting an often divided E.U. on foreign and security policy.
About which I was questioned. Brief News from Washington Newsday.