Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

The Prosecutor Who Could Save Baltimore

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Central African Republic: French soldiers face sex abuse allegations

Read more

#THE 51%

UK elections: Does the women's vote count?

Read more

REVISITED

Questions remain 7 years after China's Sichuan quake

Read more

#TECH 24

Apple Watch put to the test

Read more

YOU ARE HERE

Bread, a French tradition

Read more

FOCUS

Lebanon's Roumieh prison: Iron-fist policy against a jihadist hub

Read more

REPORTERS

Syria: On the trail of looted antiquities

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Are you ready to rumble? Mayweather-Pacquiao is biggest payday in sports history

Read more

Europe

Pentagon's alleged preference for US bids to have 'consequences'

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-03-11

EU suspicions that the Pentagon gave priority to a US manufacturer's bid for a tanker jet contract over European rivals was a serious matter that would have "consequences", France's minister for Europe, Pierre Lellouche, said on Wednesday.

AFP - Claims the Pentagon skewed bidding rules for a tanker jet contract in favour of an American manufacturer will have serious consequences for EU-US relations, senior French officials said Wednesday.

US aerospace giant Boeing is set to win a 35 billion dollar (26 billion euro) contract to build an aerial refueling tanker plane for the US air force after Northrop Grumman and its European partner EADS dropped out.

Both European officials and EADS, which owns planemaker Airbus, claim that the Pentagon altered bidding rules for the contract in order to favour Boeing's all-American offer over the European bid.

A government spokesman added that French President Nicolas Sarkozy will bring up the subject when he visits his US counterpart Barack Obama next month.

"This is a serious matter," another government member, France's Minister for Europe Pierre Lellouche, told reporters after a meeting of President Nicolas Sarkozy's cabinet.

"Naturally, we're talking about the arms market, so it's not a classic matter of international law and the World Trade Organisation, but we're going to respond," he said, without saying what France's response would be.

"I can assure you that there will be consequences. The president will act on the matter at the appropriate time. This matter is in no way finished."

Government spokesman and Education Minister Luc Chatel said Sarkozy will have "the chance to discuss this question with President Obama during his visit to the United States" later this month.

Lellouche added: "I've always been in favour of a strong Europe in the Atlantic alliance but it's something that has to work both ways.

"It's obvious that if we bend to the Pentagon's fait accompli and if no-one says anything, then Europe's credibility is finished. Europe has to exist and therefore its industry has to exist and make itself respected," he said.

The Pentagon insists that the bidding process was fair and that it will buy the aircraft that best fits the needs of the air force for the price.

But the European Commission has protested and a German minister has accused the United States of protectionism, warning that Berlin would take up the issue at the political level and at the World Trade Organisation.

 

Date created : 2010-03-11

  • DEFENCE

    Europe approves funds to rescue Airbus military-transport plane

    Read more

  • DEFENCE

    France defends decision to sell Russia amphibious warships

    Read more

  • UNITED KINGDOM

    BAE to pay 450 million dollars in fines to settle corruption charges

    Read more

COMMENT(S)