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A French Barracuda class nuclear attack submarine docked in Toulon's harbor in November 2020. Photo: Nicolas Tucat/AFP via Getty Images

French defense contractor Naval Group said Wednesday it will bill the Australian government for torpedoing a multi-billion dollar contract to purchase submarines in favor of nuclear-powered ones from the United States, according to AFP.

Why it matters: Australia's new deal with the U.S. and its scrapped deal with France have set off a diplomatic crisis between the Western allies, causing France to recall its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia last week.

  • Australia's agreement to purchase subs from the U.S. was part of a security pact between the two countries and the United Kingdom to counter China in the Indo-Pacific.
  • France said it was blindsided by the trilateral defense pact, called AUKUS, arguing it should have been consulted in advance.

What they're saying: Naval Group CEO Pierre Eric Pommellet told the French newspaper Le Figaro that a "detailed and calculated" bill would be sent to Australia “in a few weeks” but he did not disclose the financial amount the company will be asking for.

  • “It is a case that is planned for in the contract and will require a payment of our costs that were incurred and those to come, linked to demobilization of infrastructure and IT as well as the redeployment of employees,” Pommellet added.
  • France's Defense Ministry said Naval Group had already completed around $1.1 billion (€900 million) of work on the submarines — costs that were already covered by payments Australia had made, according to AFP.

The big picture: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Sunday that France was aware of his government's concerns over the submarines Naval Group was building.

  • Morrison said the capabilities of the French subs were "not what Australia needed to protect our sovereign interests."
  • President Biden spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron for the first time since the sub deal set off the diplomatic crisis, and Macron said the French diplomat to the U.S. would return next week.

Go deeper: Biden speaks with Macron for first time since diplomatic crisis

Go deeper

Oct 6, 2021 - World

NATO chief: "We don't regard China as an adversary or an enemy"

Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP via Getty Images

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday that the military alliance must "engage politically" with China despite its growing assertiveness, telling Politico's "Global Insider" podcast: "We don't regard China as an adversary or an enemy."

Why it matters: NATO, like the U.S., has been careful about the language it uses to describe a rising China — stressing the need for cooperation while acknowledging that Beijing's global influence, technological prowess and military activity in the South China Sea pose real security challenges.

Biden rejects Trump's latest executive privilege claims

Photo: Jim Watson and Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The White House on Monday rejected two more of former President Trump's claims of executive privilege over documents that the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot requested, CNN first reported.

Why it matters: Trump's legal team is seeking to block some of the panel's requests for records by invoking executive privilege, which can allow presidents and their aides to sidestep congressional scrutiny. The Biden administration has maintained that it will evaluate on a case-by-case basis.

Amazon warehouse workers in New York file petition to hold unionization vote

Amazon workers and their supporters rally outside the National Labor Relations Board's regional office in Brooklyn, New York City, after filing a petition requesting an election to form a union. Photo: Gabby Jones/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Amazon warehouse workers in New York City filed a petition on Monday with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to hold a vote on unionization.

Why it matters: The move comes six months after an organizing effort was defeated at Amazon's distribution center in Alabama.