Germany joined France on Tuesday in berating the United States for negotiating a security pact in secret with Australia and Britain that cost Paris a lucrative defence deal, while the EU’s top official said such behaviour was unacceptable.
In a concrete signal of the bloc’s outrage, EU ambassadors postponed preparations for an inaugural trade and technology council on Sept. 29 with the United States, a gathering that was trumpeted as a major advance in the transatlantic alliance.
“One of our member states has been treated in a way that is not acceptable, so we need to know what happened and why,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in defence of France.
Her EU executive asked for preparatory EU discussions for the U.S. trade and technology council to be taken off Wednesday’s agenda, EU diplomats said.
A spokesperson said the Commission was still determining whether the U.S. meeting should go ahead as planned.
France said it was assessing all options in response to Australia’s scrapping of a $40 billion submarine contract last week, while its biggest EU ally, Germany, rallied behind it, saying Washington and Canberra had damaged trust between allies that would be difficult to rebuild.
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