Berlin sides with Paris in fallout over Australian submarine deal

Important for EU to have unified stance, speak with one voice, says German minister.

Berlin sides with Paris in fallout over Australian submarine deal

Germany expressed strong support for France on Tuesday after Australia scrapped a multi-million dollar submarine deal leading to renewed tensions between the EU and US.

Speaking to reporters in Brussels ahead of a meeting of EU ministers of general affairs, Germany's Europe Minister Michael Roth said: "Of course, I have great understanding for our French partners and we are also in close contact (with them). It is once again a wake-up call for all of us in the European Union to ask ourselves how we can strengthen our sovereignty."

He added: "It has been shown time and again that the unified appearance of the European Union is of outstanding importance. We cannot rely exclusively on others; we have to cooperate and we have to overcome our differing views, which of course sometimes also exist on these issues in the European Union, and speak with one voice."

Roth acknowledged this was "a very difficult situation for France," saying lost trust had to be restored.

EU leaders have rallied behind Paris in its wrath over the deal with Australia that was discarded when Canberra signed up to AUKUS, a trilateral Asia Pacific security pact, to assemble nuclear submarines.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell “expressed clear solidarity with France,” saying “this announcement ran counter to calls for greater cooperation with the European Union in the Indo-Pacific,” he said.

Borrell's remarks were underscored by EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen who said France was treated in an "unacceptable" way.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has branded the agreement a "stab in the back," and recalled the French ambassadors to Canberra and Washington for consultations.

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Hüseyin Demir

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