The deal by the previous Polish government to purchase 50 aircraft from France-based Airbus Helicopters was a “gentleman's agreement” over France's loss of the Mistral battleship deal with Russia, said a former Polish president.
“Please note that Poland played an important part in forcing France to withdraw from one of its most profitable contracts, namely the sale of 'Mistral' battleships to Russia in connection with the aggression in Ukraine,” former Polish president Aleksander Kwaśniewski told Radio Zet.
Kwaśniewski added that the purchase of helicopters for the Polish army from Airbus would have make up for the loss of the French, “because then there was a gentlemen's agreement in the European Union and NATO, that upcoming contracts for military equipment would take a more sympathetic view of French offers to obviously make up for those unsold [Mistral ships]”.
Commenting on these comments on Tuesday, Science Minister Jarosław Gowin told Polish Radio that if confirmed, Kwaśniewski's comments showed another negative side of this contract.
“[The deal] involved some kind of political agreement with the French government. It is very good thing that the Russians could not buy those modern French warships. I do not know, however, why Polish taxpayers would have to pay for it,” Gowin said.
The governing Law and Justice (PiS) party has announced that the deal with Airbus fell through, and would be looking for alternative companies to supply the country with multi-purpose helicopters for its army.
In late 2014, French President Francois Hollande announced that France would not be delivering two Mistral battleships to Russia due to Russia's “recent actions in Ukraine”. The ships were eventually sold to Egypt. (rg)