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UK PM Liz Truss decides President Macron is a ‘friend’ after all

She said during the summer that the ‘jury was still out’ when asked if the French president was a friend or foe

UK Prime Minister Liz Truss and French President Emmanuel Macron Pic: Shag 7799, photocosmos1 / Shutterstock

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”. 

Read more: France and UK ‘strong allies’ says Macron in response to Truss comment

"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. 

Read more: UK PM Liz Truss joins first meeting of new ‘club of European nations’

Read more: President Macron has a new EU vision that could include the UK

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”.

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.

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