Outgoing French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian undiplomatically hailed the electoral defeat of Australia’s Conservative government after a war of words last year over an abandoned submarine deal between the two countries.
Australia dropped a purchase worth up to A$90bn (£50bn) last September in favor of a security pact with the US and UK.
Scott Morrison, then Prime Minister, dismissed accusations that his government had lied to France, which consequently recalled its ambassadors from the United States and Australia in protest and said it had not been informed of the pact only a few hours before the public announcement. .
Le Drian made the remarks on Morrison’s election defeat on Saturday at a ceremony in Paris where he handed over to his successor, Catherine Colonna.
He said: “I can’t help but say that losing Morrison suits me very well.”
Le Drian added that Morrison’s actions regarding the submarine deal showed “brutality and cynicism, and I would even be tempted to say unequivocal incompetence.”
He added that he hoped the French government “could resume a frank and constructive dialogue with Australia in the future”.
Morrison, US President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled a new security partnership last year, called the Aukus Pact, which sabotaged the 2016 deal between Australia and French shipbuilder Naval Group for the construction of 12 conventional submarines.
Australia’s move has led to escalating tensions between Paris and Canberra.
Le Drian said in September he felt “stabbed in the back” over the “unacceptable” deal which would hurt French businesses.
French President Emmanuel Macron has accused Morrison of lying to him last year about the abandoned submarine contract.
Australia’s right-wing coalition government has lost power after nearly a decade in power.
Morrison conceded defeat and announced he would step down as leader of his party.