UK and France Re-establish Ties and Prioritize Different Agendas
After years of defensiveness and even contempt in Franco-British relations following Brexit, Rishi Sunak and Emmanuel Macron met at the Élysée Palace, all smiles and keen to leave past issues behind. The UK Chancellor stated that Brexit did not change the geography, as the UK had left the EU but not Europe, and emphasized that there were many areas where both countries should collaborate as they shared the same interests. Today’s meeting was about re-establishing ties and finding new ways to work together.
Despite the ambitiousness of this summit as heralded by both Paris and London, it seemed that the agendas of the leaders differed somewhat. For Sunak, the most important thing was to secure some guarantee that France would aid in tackling migration, which resulted in an announcement of a detention center in northern France, 500 additional officers patrolling the French coast, and more surveillance technology such as drones. On the other hand, President Macron focused more on defense, with both leaders highlighting the importance of continuing to support Ukraine against Russia’s invasion. They agreed to provide not only material support but also training to Ukrainian marines, improving interoperability between their forces.
The leaders emerged from the conference looking optimistic, and it appeared that the summit had achieved its goals of re-establishing ties and identifying new areas of collaboration. While they each prioritized different issues, they acknowledged the shared interests and common ground between the two countries. The meeting signalled a positive start to a new chapter in Franco-British relations, leaving the bitterness of Brexit behind.