Joint Statement by Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs and Florence Parly, Minister of the Armed Forces, September 16, 2021
JOINT STATEMENT BY JEAN-YVES LE DRIAN, MINISTER OF EUROPE AND FOREIGN AFFAIRS, AND FLORENCE PARLY, MINISTER OF THE ARMED FORCES, September 16, 2021
France takes note of the decision just announced by the Australian government to halt the "Future Submarine Program" ocean-going class submarine program and to launch cooperation with the United States on nuclear-powered submarines.
This decision is contrary to the letter and spirit of the cooperation that prevailed between France and Australia, based on a relationship of political trust as well as on the development of a very high-level defence industrial and technological base in Australia.
The American choice to exclude a European ally and partner such as France from a structuring partnership with Australia, at a time when we are facing unprecedented challenges in the Indo-Pacific region, whether in terms of our values or in terms of respect for multilateralism based on the rule of law, shows a lack of coherence that France can only note and regret.
With the publication today of the joint communication on the European strategy for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, France confirms its desire for very ambitious action in this region aimed at preserving the "freedom of sovereignty" of all. As the only European nation present in the Indo-Pacific with nearly two million citizens and more than 7,000 military personnel, France is a reliable partner that will continue to fulfill its commitments, as it has always done.
The regrettable decision that has just been announced regarding the FSP program only reinforces the need to make the issue of European strategic autonomy loud and clear. There is no other credible way to defend our interests and our values in the world, including in the Indo-Pacific.