French President Emmanuel Macron labelled Scott Morrison a 'liar' when speaking to Australian reporters at the G20 Summit

During a meeting with Australian reporters at G20 Summit, French President Emmanuel Macron called Scott Morrison a liar.

Scott Morrison, the Australian Prime Minster, has retaliated against Emmanuel Macron. The French president had accused him of lying after he backed away from a submarine contract to make way for a new deal with Britain.

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce on Monday suggested France was overreacting, saying, ‘we didn’t deface the Eiffel Tower, it was a contract … contracts have terms and conditions.’

In an extraordinary broadside, Morrison said that he would never ‘cop sledging against Australia’. This was hours after he and Macron had shared an awkward handshake at Rome’s G20 summit.

‘We made the right call for Australia. He stated, “I don’t want to personalize this.”

‘I must state that the statements that have been made questioning Australia’s integrity, not I, are unacceptable. I’ve got broad shoulders, and I can handle it, but those slurs? I’m not going for the sledging of Australia. 

Mr Macron this morning insinuated that the Australian PM had lied when Canberra decided to shred a AU$90 million deal with Paris for 12 diesel-electric submarines.

French president says Mr Morrison acted in secret with the US and UK after Australia abandoned the deal hours before the new Aukus Security pact was announced.

London and Washington, as part of the alliance have stated that they will provide Canberra nuclear submarine technology.

Reporters asked Mr Macron about his failed submarine deal as he was leaving the G20 conference.

‘I have a lot to respect for [Australia]Respect, friendship, and a lot of love for your family. “I just want to say that when we have respect, it is important to be truthful and to act in accordance with this value,” Mr Macron stated.

The French president was then questioned if the Australian prime minster had lied.

Macron responded, “I don’t think I know,” before cutting off any further questions. 

An awkward handshake in Rome between Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison (centre right) and French President Emmanuel Macron (centre left)

An awkward handshake between Scott Morrison, the Australian Prime Minister, and Emmanuel Macron, the French President (centre right).

Mr Morrison responded by fronting cameras to say he wanted a ‘personal dispute’ to be avoided, but that he would not allow another leader to ‘question Australia’s integrity. 

He said, “I have to put Australia’s interests before any interests which could potentially offending other people,”

“The (French] submarine contract was a significant investment decision that was made five years ago. Given Australia’s strategic situation, time and technology, the attack class submarine was the right choice.

“But there were significant changes that took place in our strategic environment in Indo-Pacific, which have completely changed the game.” 

His deputy, Mr Joyce, later backed him while speaking to voters at an event in the New South Wales town of Moree.

Joyce stated that he didn’t steal an island and didn’t deface Eiffel Tower. It was a contract.

“Contracts have terms, and one of those terms, conditions, and propositions is that it might be possible to get out of the contract. “We got out of that contract,” the deputy PM said.

Mr Joyce’s office could not say whether ‘steal an island’ was a reference to the English Channel´s tiny Sark Island, which unemployed French nuclear physicist André Gardes attempted to overthrow with an assault rifle in 1990.

The movie ‘The Man Who Tried Steal An Island’ was inspired by this bizarre incident.

David Littleproud (Minister of Cabinet) called Mr Macron’s criticisms against Mr Morrison ‘unreasonable’

Scott Morrison has retaliated against French President Emmanuel Macron, after he publicly accused him of lying about the scrapped submarine agreement. 

Diplomatic tensions between the two countries have escalated since Australia pulled out of a $90 billion deal with France to manufacture its next generation of submarines. 

After an awkward exchange at the G20 Summit, Rome, the French President made clear his feelings about Mr Morrison in a heated exchange with Australian journalists. He called his counterpart a “liar” hours later.

Speaking to reporters on Monday night  Mr Morrison returned fire at Mr Macron saying he wouldn’t ‘cop sledging on Australia’ and refused to apologise for reneging on their deal and going with the US and UK on nuclear submarines. 

‘We made the right call for Australia. He said, “I don’t wish to personalize it.”

“I must state that the statements that have been made questioning Australia’s integrity, not I, are unacceptable. I’ve got broad shoulders and that’s all I can take, but those slurs? I’m not going for the sledging of Australia.  

Scott Morrison has unleashed an extraordinary rant directed at Emmanuel Macron after the French President called his counterpart a 'liar'

Scott Morrison unleashed an extraordinary rant at Emmanuel Macron, after the French President called him a ‘liar.’

French President Emmanuel Macron (pictured with wife Brigitte earlier this month) has accused Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison of lying

French President Emmanuel Macron (pictured together with Brigitte earlier in the month) has accused Scott Morrison, the Australian Prime Minister, of lying

Morrison had previously denied that he had misled the French during a press conference. 

He said that he had explained to Mr Macron’very clearly” a few months back that the submarines ordered from France weren’t going to serve Australia’s best interests. 

Josh Frydenberg, Australia’s federal treasurer, defended the Prime Minister, but acknowledged that growing tensions between Australia & France are ‘challenging diplomatically.

“It has been since announcement,” Mr Frydenberg said to the Today Show on Monday.

We’ll work through that. It was great that they had it – the leaders had that they both had – they had that call yesterday. 

“There are areas in which we can work together, and increase that level. However, the AUKUS deal sets Australia up for many decades ahead, which is why it is so important for Australia’s national interest.

Earlier in the program David Littleproud, the agriculture minister, accused President Macron of being unreasonable. 

Hours after they had had a very awkward handshake during the G20 summit, Mr Macron reacted angrily to Mr Morrison. 

The leaders met briefly at the G20 summit in Rome. It was only two days after their first phone conversation since Australia decided to have nuclear-powered submarines with the US and Britain as part of the AUKUS agreement.

Morrison said to reporters that he briefly bumped into the French leader, and that he’said good-bye’ and that he hoped they could continue speaking later. 

After weeks of revelations about Mr Morrison’s refusal to call Mr Macron, Mr Macron’s icy phone conversation was a result.

According to reports, Mr Macron called Mr Morrison before he left for Europe in a tense phone conversation. He told him that he had ‘broken trust between our two countries’. 

“It is now up the Australian government to propose tangible activities that embody Australia’s highest authorities to redefine and continue joint action on the Indo-Pacific,” a statement by President Macron’s Office stated. 

An Australian Collins class submarine (front) and the UK nuclear-powered attack submarine, HMS Astute (rear) are seen at HMAS Stirling Royal Australian Navy base in Perth on October 29, 2021. Australia is committed to getting its first nuclear-powered submarines built and operating as quickly as possible, says Defence Minister Peter Dutton, after pulling out of a $90billion deal to have France make its next generation of submarines

A Collins class Australian submarine (front) as well as the HMS Astute, a UK nuclear-powered attack submarine, can be seen at HMAS Stirling Royal Australian Navy bases in Perth on October 29, 2021. After France pulled out of a $90billion agreement to build its next generation of submarines, Australia is determined to get its first nuclear powered submarines built and operational as soon as possible, says Defence Minister Peter Dutton.

Before he flew from Rome to meet Mr Macron, Mr Morrison dismissed the possibility of meeting him. 

He said, “I don’t think this’s likely to happen this time,” 

“I believe it will happen eventually. But we just have to give him a little space, give him some space.

‘I mean we had to make the decision in the national interests, and maybe we will catch up at some point down the line. It’s better to give our friends space for now.

The plan to avoid Mr Macron in Rome was ruined when the leaders unexpectedly found their way just metres apart. 

Morrison said, “I said g’day, I said ‘day,” to reporters in Rome.

“He was having a conversation with someone, so I went up to him and just put my arm on his shoulder, saying “g’day, Emmanuel” and “look forward to catching up over these next few days.”

“That’s how these events work, and he was happy for us to exchange greetings.”

Before meeting Mr Morrison, Mr Macron had already met Joe Biden. The US President  expressed great concern about the handling of the secret plan to dump France from the submarine project, saying it was ‘clumsy’ and ‘not done with a lot of grace’.

President Macron told Mr Biden that he had the impression that France had been told long before the deal was cancelled.

“I honestly to God didn’t know that you hadn’t been.”

Mr Morrison was not going to be drawn on whether Mr Biden had put him in deeper trouble than he did with the French.

He said, “He’s had an honest conversation with the French President, and I’ll leave his remarks for them,”

French fury has been directed at Mr Morrison and the Australian government for being kept in the dark about the decision to end the $90 Billion submarine contract. 

The French government was informed that Australia was cancelling the deal just hours prior to Mr Morrison. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was joined by Mr Biden at a trilateral press conference discussing the new AUKUS defence and security pact.

Jean-Pierre Thebault was France’s ambassador in Australia. He was recalled in September following the cancellation of the submarine deal. However, he has since returned home to Canberra.

The French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told his country’s parliament he asked the ambassador to go back to Australia with two missions: ‘To define our relationship with Australia in the future… and firmly defend our interests in the implementation of Australia’s decision to terminate the submarine program.’

Prime Minister Scott Morrison arrives at the G20 summit of world leaders to discuss climate change, Covid-19 and the post-pandemic global recovery at the La Nuvola center G20 Summit, Rome, Italy

Scott Morrison, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, arrives at G20 Summit of World Leaders to discuss climate change, Covid-19 as well as post-pandemic global Recovery at the La Nuvola center G20 Summit. Rome, Italy

There are fears that Australia’s abandonment to the French submarine deal could cause a major reversal of a potential free trade accord with the European Union.

Ursula von der Leyen (President of the European Commission) said that the deal cancellation was a result of a lot of open issues. She added that “one of our member countries has been treated in an unacceptable manner.”

France’s Europe minister Clément Beaune said France could halt progress on an EU-Australia trade deal which has been under negotiation since mid-2018.

Politico was told by he that “Keeping one’s word” is the condition for trust between democracies as well as allies.

“So it is impossible to move forward with trade negotiations as though nothing has happened with a country we don’t trust.” 

According to Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade data for 2019, Australia’s bilateral trade was worth $78.7 Billion during the 2019-20 financial year.