French president Emmanuel Macron said this week that the submarine deal with Australia was “still on the table”, following conversations with Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese at the G20.
The $90bn deal fell through last year – sparking a diplomatic crisis of sorts between the two countries – when Australia ditched it to form a deal with the US and the UK to manufacture nuclear-powered submarines. The decision was perceived as a key breach of trust at the time. Macron even recalled his ambassadors from Canberra and Washington.
But now, the French president seems to be willing to go back on his steps and has ensured that the submarines would be constructed in Australia. “It is up to the Australians to choose, we are consistent”, he said.
Yet it’s unclear whether a Franco-Australian deal would be compatible with AUKUS, the defence pact between Australia, the UK and the US.