Wednesday

12th May 2021

Russia indicates French warship deal is dead

  • Russia 'won't be taking' the warships (Photo: navy.mil)

A senior Russian official has indicated the deal to buy two high-tech French warships has been definitively abandoned.

Oleg Bochkarev, the deputy chairman of the Russian Military-Industrial Commission, told media on Tuesday (26 May), in remarks reported by the state-onwed Tass agency: “Russia won't be taking them, that's a fact”.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

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

... or subscribe as a group

“There’s just a single discussion underway at the moment - on the amount of money that should be returned to Russia”.

He added that Russia will instead develop its own amphibious assault vessels as part of a broader shift away from Western defence contracts.

The warships, called Mistrals, were sold after Russia’s invasion of Georgia in 2008, but before its invasion of Ukraine last year.

Dubbed “instruments of destabilisation” of the EU’s eastern neighbourhood by hawkish EU diplomats, they became a symbol of France’s reluctance to show solidarity on EU sanctions.

When member states imposed economic measures last summer, France made sure the arms embargo only covers new, but not existing contracts.

In September, president Francois Hollande bowed to US and German pressure and put the deal on hold.

Since then, France and Russia have been negotiating on how to dissolve the deal in an amicable way.

Russia has already paid France €800 million of the €1.2 billion price tag and sent hundreds of sailors to train in the French port of St. Nazaire.

Russian newspaper Kommersant reported earlier this month that France is ready to refund the €800 million, but wants permission from Russia to sell the ships to someone else.

But it said Russia is seeking €1.163 billion for “expenditures and losses” related to the ruptured contract.

Fidesz MEP oversees FOI appeals on disgraced Fidesz MEP

Disgraced former Fidesz MEP József Szájer is entitled to a transitional allowance. The European Parliament won't say if he took one. An appeal on a freedom of information request is delayed - while appeals are overseen by another Fidesz MEP.

Belgium outlines summer Covid relaxation plans

Belgian prime minister Alexander De Croo announced that from 9 June restaurants, cinemas, theatres and fitness centres will be able to open their doors again. Indoor and outdoor events will steadily be able to host more people.

News in Brief

  1. Germany stops Facebook gathering WhatsApp data
  2. Italy rebuts reports of EU deal with Libya
  3. MEPs demand EU states protect women's reproductive rights
  4. At least nine dead in Russia school shooting
  5. Bulgaria interim government appointed until July election
  6. German priests defy pope to bless same-sex couples
  7. New EU public prosecutor faults Slovenia
  8. Renewables in 2020 grew at 'fastest rate in two decades'

First recovery euros could be paid out in July

Economy commissioner Paolo Gentoloni said the real challenge is whether member states can stick to their national plans and timelines. However, more than a dozen EU countries still need to ratify legislation to start the funding.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region can and should play a leading role in Europe’s digital development
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council to host EU webinars on energy, digitalisation and antibiotic resistance

Latest News

  1. 'No place to hide' in Gaza, as fighting escalates
  2. EU chases 90m AstraZeneca vaccines in fresh legal battle
  3. Fidesz MEP oversees FOI appeals on disgraced Fidesz MEP
  4. Belgium outlines summer Covid relaxation plans
  5. EU needs good diplomats in Indo-Pacific, not people in uniforms
  6. Expelling diplomats won't fix central Europe's Russia problem
  7. Russia penetrated Merkel's 'inner circle', Khodorkovsky says
  8. First recovery euros could be paid out in July

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us