UK Prime Minister Liz Truss has declared that French President Emmanuel Macron is a “friend” around six weeks after saying the “jury is still out” when asked if he was a “friend or foe”.
"I work very, very closely with President Macron and the French government and what we're talking about is how the UK and France can work more closely together to build more nuclear power stations, and to make sure that both countries have energy security in the future," Miss Truss said.
Miss Truss added: "We’re both very clear the foe is Vladimir Putin, who has through his appalling war in Ukraine threatened freedom and democracy in Europe and pushed up energy prices.
“[Mr Macron] is a friend.”
She made the comments in Prague where she is attending the first meeting of the European Political Community (EPC), which is intended to foster more cooperation among European countries beyond just the EU – an idea championed by Mr Macron.
Meeting European leaders in Prague today, the Prime Minister welcomed the strong show of unity against Russian aggression.— UK Prime Minister (@10DowningStreet) October 6, 2022
The UK will continue to work with our allies to secure our energy supply, tackle people smuggling gangs and stand up to despots. pic.twitter.com/3DMpMCVN7z
When she was still a prime ministerial candidate, she declined to state whether she saw Macron as a friend or foe when asked at a hustings on August 25.
“If I become prime minister, I will judge [Mr Macron] on his deeds, not words,” she said.
It seems she has now made up her mind that the French President is an ally.
In response to Miss Truss’ words yesterday, Mr Macron said that he was happy she had chosen to come to Prague.
“This [the UK] is an island, but this island didn’t move from the continent and we do have so many things in common,” he said, referring to the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.
“I really hope this is the beginning of the day after.”
Since Brexit, the UK and France have clashed on several topics, including cross-Channel migration, fishing rights and the Northern Ireland protocol, a clause in the Brexit withdrawal agreement that allows for the unchecked movement of goods between the Republic of Ireland (a member of the EU) and Northern Ireland.
The two leaders yesterday issued a joint statement in which they agreed to continue supporting Ukraine against Russia’s invasion, to work together on energy matters and to cooperate on illegal, cross-Channel migration, which they said they would “end”.
La coopération— UK Prime Minister (@10DowningStreet) October 6, 2022
The UK and France have agreed to strengthen cooperation on energy security and tackling illegal migration, including:
➡️ Joint support for Sizewell C
➡️ Closer working on nuclear power
➡️ Stopping deadly journeys across the Channel
Following the meetings, Ms Truss said: "Leaders leave this summit with greater collective resolve to stand up to Russian aggression.
"What we have seen in Prague is a forceful show of solidarity with Ukraine, and for the principles of freedom and democracy."
After the British government requested that it host the second meeting of the EPC, it is now expected that it will host the fourth instead, with Moldova and Spain holding the second and third.