Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday that Britain and France must show they are allies and friends in a complicated world following bilateral talks with British Prime Minister Liz Truss in New York.
The two leaders held their first face-to-face talks on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, just a day after Macron was in the UK for Queen Elizabeth’s state funeral and just weeks after Truss questioned whether the French leader was friend or Enemy.
Relations between the two neighbors and historic rivals have been difficult for various reasons since Britain left the European Union.
“I now believe in evidence, results,” Macron said. “There is a will to re-engage, to move on and to show that we are allies and friends in a complex world.”
His choice of words even seemed to echo what Truss said about him during her campaign for the Conservative Party leadership and thus the job as Prime Minister late last month. Asked: “President Macron: friend or foe?” Truss had replied: “The jury is out. But when I become prime minister I will judge him by actions, not words.”
More cooperation on energy, Ukraine and European affairs?
Macron said he and Truss discussed a variety of issues, the war in Ukraine, France’s proposal to create a European Political Community that would invite non-EU members to discuss common areas of interest. The French President has made it clear that he hopes Britain will take part in such a forum after Brexit.
However, a reading of the meeting of Truss’s team at 10 Downing Street was less mandatory.
“In the face of a difficult winter with enormous uncertainty in energy supplies and the cost of living, Prime Minister and President Macron underlined the importance of working together to end dependence on Russian energy and strengthen energy security,” the spokesman said.
“We have to keep demonstrating [Russian President Vladimir] Putin that his economic blackmail for energy and food supplies will not succeed.
Both France and the UK have important assets that could come in handy as Europe seeks to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels from Russia. The UK is a major producer and exporter of natural gas and oil. And France, with its large fleet of nuclear power plants, tends to be one of Europe’s leading net exporters of electricity. However, that was not the case in 2022, as a combination of structural problems in the nuclear fleet and a summer drought forced some reactors to reduce power due to a lack of water for cooling.
Post-Brexit issues ranging from fish to sausages to submarines
Franco-British relations have been strained by the UK’s exit from the EU for various reasons.
The two governments have clashed over issues including fishing rights, delays in travel and cargo across the Channel, asylum seekers crossing the Channel from mainland Europe and post-Brexit rules on food exports from mainland Britain to Northern Ireland, which have been dubbed the “sausage wars”. , argued “ in some corners of the press.
And in a row with a less discernible direct link to Brexit, France was also angered last September when London struck a trilateral security deal with the US and Australia, a key element of which was Australia backing its plans to buy French submarines in favor of the USA abandoned -manufactured.