Columnist Emmanuel Roussel points out that the failure to deliver the Mistral helicopter carriers to Russia is in fact the lesser of French President's Francois Hollande's financial forfeits, who in the space of three months has managed to lose the country €54 billion due to unfulfilled contracts. These include the cost of backing down from the sale of the Mistral-class helicopter carriers and Rafale fighter jets.
The Mistral amphibious assault ships, which are docked in the port in Saint-Nazaire where they were built, cost French taxpayers around five million euros a month for docking and maintenance, as well as the costs of compensation for their non-delivery.
Even the losses of not delivering Mistral are exceded by those incurred during the course of negotiations for the sale of Rafale fighter jets to Egypt and India, writes Roussel, who warns that the resulting financial burden will be borne by French taxpayers.
"The structure of the financial plan with Egypt is perplexing; of the 5.2 billion euros involved, half of that consists of loans negotiated by Egypt from French banks, and only a deposit of 500 million has been paid."
"Though the quality of Egypt's credit is certainly not Greek, it is clearly not excellent either," says Roussel, complaining that despite such concerns, "we are asked to believe that everything is going to go like clockwork."
Negotiations with India have also proved less than successful, leading to a whopping 48 billion euro shortfall:
"The biggest piece of the Indian contract has disappeared for good, since India does not want the 126 planes [they prefer to buy Russian planes!] The shortfall: 48 billion euros."
"In total, Francois Hollande has played with 54 billion euros. Is it possible to stop this monumental waste?" asks Roussel.
On May 31 Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrika said the Rafale twin-jet combat aircraft were "way too expensive," and that its order was unlikely to increase to more than 36, despite having made an initial order for 126 of the aircraft.
"I also feel like having a BMW and Mercedes," said Parrika, who explained that he resists such extravagances because "first I can't afford it and second I don't need it."
"So, 126 Rafales was economically unviable. It was not required," said the Defense Minister, who said that such an outlay would have had a negative impact on plans for the modernization of other areas of the Indian military.