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EU foreign ministers to discuss submarine dispute on Monday

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By Reuters
EU foreign ministers to discuss submarine dispute on Monday
EU foreign ministers to discuss submarine dispute on Monday   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021   -  

<div> <p> – European Union foreign ministers will on Monday discuss Australia’s scrapping of a $40 billion submarine order with France, a move that has enraged Paris and cast a shadow over free trade talks between the EU and Australia.</p> <p>The meeting will take place on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York at 2200 <span class="caps">GMT</span> (6 p.m. local time), a spokesperson for the European Commission told reporters in Brussels.</p> <p>Australia said last week it would cancel an order for conventional submarines from France and instead build at least eight nuclear-powered submarines https://graphics.reuters.com/USA-<span class="caps">SECURITY</span>/AUSTRALIA-<span class="caps">FRANCE</span>/jnpweyabzpw/USA-<span class="caps">SECURITY</span>-<span class="caps">AUSTRALIA</span>.jpg with U.S. and British technology after striking a security partnership with those countries under the name <span class="caps">AUKUS</span>.</p> <p>To show its displeasure, France recalled its ambassadors from Canberra and Washington.</p> <p>It is not clear if the dispute will have implications for the next round of EU-Australia trade talks, scheduled for Oct. 12.</p> <p>“We are analysing the impact of the <span class="caps">AUKUS</span> announcement and what the impact would be on this schedule,” a Commission spokesperson said.</p> <p>Some officials in Brussels interpreted the U.S.-led security deal as a wake-up call and a warning not to rely too much on a complete reversal of U.S. policies after the departure of former President Donald Trump from the White House.</p> <p>“The <span class="caps">AUKUS</span> agreement is a case in point: It shows that there is some continuity in an ‘America First’ approach despite the change of administration in the U.S.,” an EU diplomat said.</p> <p>“The United States isn’t pulling out of Europe. However, the U.S. focus has clearly shifted to China and the Indo-Pacific region. One of the consequences of this shift is that Europe will have to do more for its own defence.”</p> <p>Earlier, the chaotic evacuation from Afghanistan had prompted fresh calls for a European rapid reaction force to reduce the bloc’s dependence on the U.S. military. </p> <p>The United States has sought to assuage the anger in France, a <span class="caps">NATO</span> ally. The French government said on Sunday that President Emmanuel Macron would have a call with U.S. President Joe Biden in the next few days. </p> <p/> </div>