Sunday, March 26, 2023

Emmanuel Macron, Rishi Sunak seek to end years of Franco-British feud – Usky News

Paris: Leader of France Emmanuel Macron and the British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak On Friday the two capitals will seek to re-establish cross-Channel ties at a Paris meeting that signals the end of years of wrangling.
The summit, a first since 2018, will bring the two former investment bankers together for their first bilateral visit on the sidelines of international events since Sunak came to power in October.
After years of animosity between London and Paris under Sunak’s former boss and predecessor Boris Johnson, relations have improved markedly in recent months, building momentum for new initiatives.
“We are at the moment renewing things, putting things back in order and preparing for the future,” a Macron aide told reporters on Wednesday on condition of anonymity.
The new constructive mood is likely to lead to another deal to stem the exodus from France, with Sunak determined to allow thousands of asylum seekers to cross the Channel and Macron to push for additional resources for border control.
Another Macron aide told reporters the agreement would focus on “increasing the resources deployed to manage this common border, with multi-year financing”.
A Downing Street source said: “Tackling illegal immigration This is a global challenge and it is vital that we work with our partners, especially the French, to prevent Channel crossings and loss of life.”
While tensions over Britain’s departure from the European Union are expected to continue, recent developments, including an agreement to settle Northern Ireland’s trade status, have generated goodwill.
new british King Charles III France is also set to make France its first overseas destination later this month in another statement from British Outreach, an ally under a 120-year-old treaty known as the “Entente Cordiale”.
The two neighboring countries – Europe’s biggest military and diplomatic powers – have also found common cause in supporting Kiev’s fight against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Georgina Wright, a European politics expert at the Paris-based think-tank Montaigne Institute, told AFP that this was the main driver of warmer relations between Macron and Sunak, more than personal dynamics.
“The war in Ukraine has forced the two countries to come together,” she said. “There’s clearly an attempt to build a relationship of trust.”
New defense initiatives such as joint training of Ukraine’s troops, strengthening NATO’s defenses in Eastern Europe, or developing new weapons systems together are set to be part of Friday’s discussions.
“Defence cooperation is a cornerstone of bilateral relations,” the French Institute of Foreign Relations said in a research note ahead of the summit.
Mutual concerns over China and Iran’s nuclear program are also seen as compelling reasons to revive ties.
Macron, 45, and Sunak, 42, have appeared eager to put the bad blood of past years behind them.
At one point a French minister threatened to cut off the power supply to the British-protected Channel Islands, while Johnson deployed a navy vessel in the face of protests from French fishermen.
Macron once publicly condemned Britain’s vaccine against Covid-19 and reportedly described Johnson as a “clown”. During a line about submarines, Johnson ridiculed the French leader by saying that he should “prenez un grip”.
At their first meeting on the sidelines of UN climate talks in Egypt in November, Macron and Sunak embraced so warmly and so often it gave rise to mild speculation about a “bromance”.
Above the picture tweeted after the encounter, Sunak wrote, “Friends.”
It was an apparent reference to his short-lived predecessor, Liz Truss, who said in August that she did not know whether the French leader was “friend or foe”.
Macron and Sunak have a lot in common on a superficial level, being of similar build and age as well as sharing a love for navy-blue suits.
But the similarities run deeper: his father was a provincial doctor; They were both privately educated; And each had a career in banking before entering politics — Macron at Rothschild, Sunak at Goldman Sachs.
However, there are significant political differences with Cynthia remaining a conservative Eurosceptic and free-marketeer, while Macron is pro-EU and believes in strong state intervention.
“I think there is a feeling (in Paris) that the British prime minister is serious, that he doesn’t want to score political points, but I wouldn’t overstate the bromance between them,” Wright said.


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