The European Union (EU) has expressed surprise at the birth of AUKUS. The information that EU was not told in advance about the event on September 15, when the US, Australia and the UK announced the establishment of AUKUS, has raised concerns that the EU was gradually being left out of key decisions in its alliance with the US. Previously, the EU complained that the bloc had not been consulted about the decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, where European countries had actively coordinated with the US in counter- terrorist activities.
The EU has unveiled a new strategy for the Indo-Pacific just hours after the US, Australia and Britain announced the new security alliance. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen emphasised that it was time for Europe to boost its own military alliance.
France was the country that reacted most harshly. French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian criticised the formation of AUKUS as the “lying, duplicity, a major breach of trust and contempt”. The French Foreign Ministry recalled its ambassadors to the US and Australia and explained that the rare decision is justified by the exceptional seriousness of the announcements on the new alliance made by the US, the UK and Australia. France's anger stems from Australia's cancellation of a big contract to buy French conventional submarines worth tens of billions of US dollars that Paris and Canberra had spent years negotiating. It was replaced with nuclear-powered submarines in which the US and Britain will transfer technology to Australia under AUKUS.
While the UK was convincing that the birth of AUKUS was entirely justified, the US and Australia tried to “pamper” their allies. The US reiterated that France is their vital partner and oldest ally. Australia explained the contract cancellation with France as being for Australia's national interest first. Meanwhile, the British Prime Minister said the AUKUS reflected a “shared interest in promoting democracy, human rights, freedom of navigation and freedom of trade around the world”. In fact, after leaving EU, the UK needs to find new opportunities to expand cooperation in the region.
AUKUS and EU’s new strategy spotlighted an increasing interest in the Indo-Pacific region, but creating disagreements among allies. It is necessary to secure national interests and alliances; however, maintaining common peace and stability is the goal that all parties need to aim for.