Tuesday

31st Mar 2020

Hollande moots cancellation of warships deal

  • France built two Mistral helicopter carriers for Russia. (Photo: Rama)

French president Francois Hollande suggested Wednesday (22 April) that France might not deliver its mistral warships to Russia but refund Moscow instead.

"On the Mistrals, all options will be addressed. At the moment, as I have said, the Mistral delivery is not possible in the current context," Hollande said at a press conference in Paris with Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or join as a group

  • Hollande is due to meet Russian president Vladimir Putin on Friday in Yerevan (Photo: elysee.fr)

Hollande is due to meet Russian president Vladimir Putin on Friday in Yerevan, where they will attend commemorations for the 100th anniversary of mass killing of Armenians.

"If the ships are not delivered, I do not see how they could be paid," said Hollande, of the two helicopter carriers.

"President Putin and I are very clear, and different hypothesis are that there will be payment or reimbursement," he added

In 2011 France and Russia signed - during president Nicolas Sarkozy’s term - a deal for two Mistral amphibious assault ships worth €1.2 billion. Russia has already paid €800 million.

Hollande suspended the delivery of the first ship in September last year after the EU took sanctions against Russia for its involvement in the war in Ukraine.

The suspension was upheld "indefinitely" in November.

France and Russia have been discussing a settlement for some time and Putin opened the door last week to a compromise.

"We will not demand penalties or excessive fines. But we want our costs to be covered," he said on 16 April on Russian TV.

"Frankly, this has little consequences for us or our defence capacities," he also said on the non-delivery of the two warships,

Meanwhile last week, Poland, one of the staunchest opponents of the selling of Mistral to Russia, bought 50 Airbus helicopters from France.


The €2.5 billion deal was seen by some experts as compensation for a possible French decision to scrap the Mistral deal and lose money on it.

France to sell Mistral warships to EU

France is to supply its Mistral warships to the EU foreign service instead of Russia in order to forge a “genuine European defence policy”.

Coronavirus

EU states urged to share sick patients

EU states should take in sick people from Italy and Spain in a show of solidarity amid foreign propaganda attacks, MEPs have said.

Coronavirus

Orban granted indefinite 'authoritarian' power

Ushering in a new era for Hungary - and for the EU - the central European country becomes the first to be ruled by decree, after Orban's party forced virus emergency laws through parliament.

News in Brief

  1. 12-year old Belgian girl dies of coronavirus
  2. EU Commission: no 'indefinite' emergency measures
  3. Denmark plans 'gradual' return to normal after Easter
  4. Globally over 780,000 cases of coronavirus, 37,000 deaths
  5. EU states losing 3% of GDP a month, IMF says
  6. Fruit pickers need to cross borders too, EU says
  7. Former Slovak minister to become EU envoy on Kosovo-Serbia
  8. Hungary's Orban wins rule-by-decree vote in parliament

Podcast

Věra Jourová on surveillance and Covid-19

Commissioner for values and transparency, Věra Jourová, says Brussels will vet moves in Hungary to give prime minister Viktor Orbán scope to rule by decree and urges Facebook and Google to push official health advice to WhatsApp and YouTube.

Agenda

EU struggles to remain united This WEEK

EU countries continue to wrestle with economic shock of pandemic and with sharing of medical resources, posing deep questions on solidarity in the bloc.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAMaking Europe’s Economy Circular – the time is now
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersScottish parliament seeks closer collaboration with the Nordic Council
  3. UNESDAFrom Linear to Circular – check out UNESDA's new blog
  4. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us