French, British leaders meet in attempts to restore relations – Times of India

PARIS: French President Emmanuel Macron and the British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak met in Paris on Friday for a summit aimed at restoring relations after post-Brexit tensions, improving military and business ties and strengthening efforts against migrant crossings across the Channel. The Franco-British summit, the first since 2018, will show a “new chapter” in relations between the two countries, according to Macron’s office. Such an event used to be held almost every year.
Relations between the UK and France cooled amid post-Brexit bickering over fishing rights and other issues, reaching an all-time low under Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who took delight in bullying the French. his successor, Liz Truusfrowned on French feathers last year when she said the “jury was out” on whether Macron was friend or foe.
But Russia’s invasion of Ukraine brought Britain and its European neighbors closer together in support of Kiev, and mood improved after the pragmatic, technocratic Sunak took office in October following Truss’s short and economically destabilizing term.
Sunak’s visit also comes two weeks before King Charles III travels to France and then Germany for his first state visits since becoming monarch, in further British efforts to build bridges with European neighbours.
“The summit will above all be an opportunity to reaffirm and deepen the close cooperation on military support to Ukraine,” said Macron’s Elysee Palace statement, as both countries are the only nuclear powers in the region.
A delegation of seven senior ministers from each country will participate, including those responsible for foreign affairs, defense and home affairs.
Last month, the UK and the EU announced a breakthrough in talks to resolve the dispute over post-Brexit trade arrangements for Northern Ireland. Britain has also cautiously welcomed Macron’s proposal for a European Political Community, a new forum aimed at increasing security and prosperity across the continent. Launched in October, it brings together existing EU members, aspiring partners in the Balkans and Eastern Europe, as well as Britain and Turkey.
Sunak is seeking closer cooperation on measures to prevent thousands of migrants from crossing the Channel from France to England.
The UK and France signed an agreement in November to expand police patrols on beaches in northern France – with London agreeing to pay Paris €72.2m over 2022-2023 – and Sunak hopes to strengthen further cooperation on Friday. tackling illegal migration.
Friday’s talks will aim to “make the small boat route across the Channel unfeasible, save lives and dismantle organized crime groups while preventing illegal migration further upstream,” Sunak’s office said.
The UK this week announced controversial plans to detain and deport people arriving by small boat, but almost no country has agreed to accept deportees.
Shortly after the Paris meeting, however, a reminder of an issue that angered France will come.
Sunak will fly to the United States to meet with President Joe Biden and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese over a three-way defense deal struck in 2021 that saw Australia pull out of an agreement to buy French submarines.

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