Florence Parly, Minister of the Armed Forces, visits Australia
Christopher Pyne and Florence Parly then seized this opportunity to hold a press conference and highlight the deepening of the Franco-Australian relationship. Christopher Pyne praised France’s commitment to Pacific security, in partnership with Australia. According to Mr. Pyne, “we take our role in the South Pacific very seriously and we support the presence of France as a regional power, thanks to New Caledonia and French Polynesia. We want to see this relationship continue to grow. ” Australia welcomes the involvement in its environment of nations sharing its values. Florence Parly emphasized this collaboration by explaining that “France and Australia have never been so close. We have a deep relationship, rooted in values, interests and a common perception of what is happening in the world. We are neighbors and allies in the Indo-Pacific, where we ensure the maritime safety of our allies.”
They then inaugurated the Franco-Australian Symposium on Defense Industries. The two ministers emphasized the key aspects of the Franco-Australian defense relationship, in particular the submarine contract and the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.
Minister Christopher Pyne described the Franco-Australian submarine program as “the largest project of its kind in the world” and was delighted that Naval Group is the builder of these submarines, built in Australia. Florence Parly added that the contract negotiations were following their course in a positive way. Placing the contract in its strategic context, she explained that “the Australian decision to choose Naval Group for its submarines was a key moment in the bilateral relationship,” because this trade and defense agreement requires political and strategic collaboration. In addition, the minister described the agreement as “a huge industrial challenge to meet Australian demands: manufacturing in Australia, jobs for Australia, Australian steel.” This contract opens the way for full cooperation between France and Australia.