Australian Prime Minister Turnbull meets German Chancellor Merkel. From left, Australian Finance Minister Senator Mathias Cormann, German State Minister (in Foreign Office) Maria Boehmer, Prime Minister Turnbull, German Chancellor Merkel, Lucy Turnbull and German politician Volkmar Klein (Photo courtesy AFRweekend)
Turnbull and Merkel share a joke during Turnbull's mid Nobember 2015 visit to Berlin.
(Photo courtesy News(dot)com(dot)au)
Cutaway of a TKMS-HDW Type 216. The 216 is likely the submarine Germany is offering in the Australian future submarine CEP. (Diagram courtesy Submarine Dossier )
Readers may recall Submarine Matter’s article Japan's Submarine Sales Advantage, 2 + 2 Talks With Australia of November 1, 2015 where I wrote:
“Japan and Australia sharing the same region gives Japan an important advantage over the French and German competition for the Future Australian submarine sale. The annual "2 + 2" talks between Japan and Australia cement the ongoing defence relationship”
Now a pivotal article from The Australian reveals that when Australia’s Prime Minister Turnbull met Chancellor Merkel, in Berlin last week, Australia also negotiated Defence Minister and Foreign Minister “2 + 2” talks with Germany.
This development is of major significance if Australia does not negotiate equivalent 2 + 2 talks with France during the life of the Australian future submarine Competitive Evaluation Process (CEP). The CEP may extend into late 2016 until a winner is picked or at least one contender is eliminated. As Australia now has 2 + 2 arrangements with Japan and now with Germany this may (or may not) be an indicator that France may be eliminated.
The following are some excerpts of an article (some parts I’ve bolded for emphasis) that political correspondent David Crowe for THE AUSTRALIAN, November 14, 2015, reported http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/foreign-affairs/malcolm-turnbull-to-boost-ties-with-germany/story-fn59nm2j-1227608547216?sv=6e64b912efb1461e9d64f63d4d525c6a
“Malcolm Turnbull to boost ties with Germany”
“Australia will create a new defence and foreign affairs compact with Germany under a deal between Malcolm Turnbull and his counterpart, Angela Merkel, that dramatically broadens a $17 billion economic relationship, with an eye to huge export growth as well.
In the Prime Minister’s first major foreign policy initiative, the two countries will set up a new strategic partnership including annual summits of defence and foreign ministers and a joint effort to combat terrorism.
…The agreement spans defence, trade and economic policies to act upon a high-level report from an advisory group including [Australian] Finance Minister Mathias Cormann [originally from Belgium and speaks German fluently] and more than a dozen prominent individuals from both countries.
…A key finding of the report, obtained by The Weekend Australian, is that the two nations should start a “2 plus 2” strategic dialogue between defence and foreign ministers along the lines already in place with Britain.
This is being put in place and is the first agreement of its kind between Australia and any nation in continental Europe.
…Government figures said the breakthrough agreement reflected an elevation in the Germany relationship, recognising it has been the “odd one out” when Australia had “2 plus 2” co-operation with the US, Japan and China, as well as Britain.
…The stronger defence ties are a boost for Germany in its bid to help build the next fleet of Australian submarines, a delicate political issue in South Australia with competition from Japan and France to do the work..."
Read the WHOLE ARTICLE in The Australian
Wording in DFAT Briefs Significant?
Along the lines of a "2 + 2" - within the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) Brief on relations with Germany "the establishment of a high-level strategic dialogue involving foreign and defence ministers" is mentioned under "Significant recent developments".
I didn't see the same sought of wording in the DFAT brief for France.