British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and French President Emmanuel Macron leaving the summit between France and the United Kingdom at the Elysee Palace on March 10, 2023. KIN CHEUNG / AP
After years of discord on the background of Brexit, the time has come for a reunion between France and the United Kingdom. President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak worked on Friday, March 10 at the Elysee Palace to initiate a “new start” between their two countries, in the words of the former, a “renewed agreement” to believe the second, in order to turn the page on the multiple frictions aroused by London’s exit from the European Union (EU), then by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Between the two forties, former investment bankers, the current seems to pass. On the eve of the France-England rugby match on Saturday, MM. Macron and Sunak exchanged the jerseys of the two national teams, as if to signify that they were playing on the same ground again, leaving it to the athletes to do battle in a spirit of healthy rivalry. “The relationship has had its difficulties and I’m not just talking about the World Cup”, admitted Rishi Sunak, in his very British way of euphemizing relations between Paris and London which were detestable, at least until the summer 2022.
Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson had multiplied the passes of arms with his French counterpart, often opportunistically, to better rally his Brexiteer deputies to him, going so far as to threaten to send the Royal Navy against some fishing boats French around Jersey. In September 2021, Mr. Johnson had also negotiated behind the backs of the French a partnership with the United States to deliver nuclear-powered submarines to Australia, to the detriment of a huge contract for the delivery of French submersibles.
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Chance of the calendar, Mr. Sunak should detail at the beginning of next week, with the American President, Joe Biden, and the Australian Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, the terms of this agreement during a visit to the United States. But even the falling out over that seemed to be closed this Friday – or at least put on hold.
“Thank you my friend”, launched in front of the press the British Prime Minister at the end of his talks with Mr. Macron, as if to decide with his predecessor, Liz Truss, who had not wanted to say, shortly before his brief mandate. , whether Emmanuel Macron was a “friend” or an “enemy” of the United Kingdom. Rishi Sunak’s pragmatism and obvious willingness to cooperate are highly appreciated in Paris and have facilitated the staging of the “new chapter” between the two capitals. At the end of February, the British government thus concluded an agreement with the European Commission, the “Windsor Framework”, to implement the arrangements agreed for Northern Ireland in the context of Brexit.
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