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German foreign minister calls for EU-US cooperation

September 23, 2021

There can be no more "faits accomplis" by the US in light of the submarine row with France, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has told DW. He called the US decision on the AUKUS pact "sobering" for European allies.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas at the UN in New York
Maas believes strong alliances are key to resolving conflictsImage: Bernd von Jutrczenka/dpa/picture alliance

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called for closer US-EU cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region in an interview with DW on Thursday.

Maas said the way the new strategic partnership in the Indo-Pacific region between the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom (AUKUS) came about was "sobering" for Germany and other European allies.

Germany's top diplomat said the US must consult with allies regarding such important strategic decisions and added there should be no more "faits accomplis."

What Maas said about Europe and the AUKUS pact

The AUKUS pact canceled a deal France had signed with Australia in 2016 to build conventional submarines — with Canberra instead opting for nuclear-powered submarines from the US.

"Of course everyone asks themselves: What if this happened to us? This caused a lot of disquiet," Maas said.

"We in the EU need an Indo-Pacific strategy that's coordinated with the US. There can't be any decisions that cast doubt on that," Maas said on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York. 

He said increased US engagement in the Indo-Pacific region and potential reductions in other regions "inevitably poses questions for the EU: What about our own engagement? Particularly in our immediate neighborhood."

Maas said the AUKUS deal and chaotic Afghanistan pullout will fuel discussions about "European sovereignty" in coming months.

"It will be necessary to have a European position of our own, what we call European sovereignty," he said.

Maas welcomes rapprochement between France, US

Maas on US-France relations

Maas commented on recent efforts by the US and France to make amends after the diplomatic dispute over the submarine deal.

France recalled its ambassador to the US after the move.

The German foreign minister said it was a "good thing" that President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron had spoken by phone on Wednesday. Macron told Biden he had decided to send his ambassador back to Washington.

The interview with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas was conducted by DW's chief international editor, Richard Walker.