Burst : Belgium slams the door to France

It is a half-surprise, France has put out the game in Belgium that do not meet the rules of the tender for the acquisition of 34 combat aircraft intended to replace the F-16 belgian, according to the press agency Belga. The Defence minister Steven Vandeput has found Wednesday, this defect of the France : “I do not see any element that would not have allowed France to submit a government proposal detailed in accordance to what was requested in the RfGP (the call for tender launched in march by the ministry of Defense, editor’s note)”,-he said in the Defense commission of the Chamber.

The Defence minister Florence Parly has submitted “no bid price, or no reply has been sent by France to the 164 questions asked of the candidates in the RfGP and that would have had to be, in substance, the government’s proposal is expected,” said Steven Vandeput. It is based on a legal analysis of the proposal of the French government, it considers that it is not admissible “because it does not enter in the procedure of public works, launched on 17 march 2017. As a result, “we can only observe that the French do not wish to participate in the competition as defined by the decision of the Council of ministers of 17 march” (launching the call for tender), a-t-he assured.

What about the partnership in-depth?

In addition, the minister of Defence stressed that it was up to the federal government as a whole to respond to a proposal for a “closer partnership” formulated at the beginning of September by Paris around the Burst. However, according to the minister, if the government continues to “take into account” the proposal of the French, he would be subject to criticism. This statement leaves so to hear that we are heading towards a rejection of the proposal and, therefore, a duel between the F-35 from us Lockheed Martin and the Eurofighter Typhoon european consortium Eurofighter (BAE Systems, Airbus and Leonardo). So far, the ministry of the Armed forces, it is estimated that Belgium, which has not yet ruled on the proposal for a closer partnership of France, has not closed the door on Paris.

“It is for the government to decide what should happen with the letter of 6 September last, my colleague is French, Florence Parly, on a closer partnership and structuring built around the combat aircraft Rafale of the Dassault Aviation group, explained the minister.

In addition, according to the RTBF, the two-page letter sent by the French minister was written in French. This is a first error of procedure, the document must be written in English. And, according to information from the belgian radio and television station RTBF, the name of the belgian minister Steven Vandeput would even have been scratched by his French counterpart.

The French proposal

In the framework of the French offer, the minister for the Armed forces, Florence Parly, has proposed to his belgian colleague Steven Vandeput “the establishment of a closer partnership” between the two countries, “to meet the needs expressed by the belgian air force”, had explained at the beginning of September the ministry of the Armed forces in a press release. France proposed a “partnership structure”, which could take the form of an intergovernmental agreement.

According to the ministry, this partnership would include the provision of the Burst. More specifically, the Belgium would take part in the definition of the standard of combat aircraft habs and upgrades of the device. This partnership also includes “in-depth cooperation between our two air forces in the operational areas, training and support, as well as industrial cooperation and technical involving companies of the two countries”.

“This proposal for a global partnership that goes well beyond only military equipment will strengthen the old relationship and deep between our two countries, said the ministry of Defence. It would contribute to the strengthening of Europe of Defence and its strategic autonomy at a time when it is more necessary than ever”.

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