Pressured by record number of migrants crossing the Channel in small boats and arriving in Britain, Sunak met Macron at the COP27 climate summit, their first face-to-face meeting since Sunak became prime minister on Oct. 25.
Relations between Britain and France had soured, first under Boris Johnson and then only to deteriorate as Sunak’s immediate predecessor, Liz Truss, questioned whether Macron was friend or foe during her campaign to become prime minister.
Seeking to restore ties, Sunak described the meeting as a great and an opportunity to work closely with France and other countries to tackle illegal migration, which has seen large numbers of migrants arrive in southern England in recent years.
“You’ll hear more details about that in the coming weeks as those conversations are happening between all our teams,” he told reporters in Egypt.
“I am actually leaving here with renewed confidence and optimism that by working with our European partners we can make a difference, meet this challenge of illegal migration and stop people coming illegally.”