EU Not Informed About New US, UK & Australia Alliance, Plans 'to Assess Implications'
On Thursday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson assured that the new alliance between Australia, the UK, and the US is not directed against other countries, insisting that AUKUS just reflects the high level of trust and cooperation among the nations.
The European Union (EU) was not informed about the new defence alliance of Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States (AUKUS), so the bloc is currently in contact with partners to obtain more details, European Commission spokesman Peter Stano told reporters on Thursday.
"And we will, of course, have to discuss this within the EU with our member states to assess the implications", Stano pointed out.
Another European Commission spokesperson, Dana Spinant, insisted that the new alliance would have "no impact" on the EU's relations with the three countries.
The remarks come after US President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, and his UK counterpart Boris Johnson unveiled the AUKUS alliance on Wednesday evening "to protect and defend" the three countries' "shared interests in the Indo-Pacific".
The creation of the alliance is widely seen as an attempt to counter China's increasing assertiveness even though Beijing is not mentioned in the Australian PM's statement on the new group.
"Under AUKUS, the three nations will focus immediately on identifying the optimal pathway to deliver at least eight nuclear-powered submarines for Australia", Morrison announced in the statement posted on his official website.
This prompted Canberra to quickly abandon a contract on submarine supplies with France's Naval Group worth 90 billion Australian dollars (US $66 billion), a move that was harshly criticised by French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.
"This is really a stab in the back. We have established a relationship of trust with Australia, which has been undermined. And today I am angry over the termination of this contract", Le Drian told the radio network France Info on Thursday.
The creation of AUKUS comes as the EU prepares to detail its own Indo-Pacific strategy, amid the bloc's efforts to bolster its naval presence in the region, which are of "prime strategic importance for EU interests".
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has, meanwhile, urged the EU to strengthen its own military capabilities to counter a spate of security threats and global crises after the troop exit from Afghanistan.
In her annual State of the Union address, Von der Leyen said that creating EU military forces would be "part of the solution" and that "it is time for Europe to step up to the next level" without the US-led NATO.
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