Macron and Truss kiss and make up in Prague after 'friend or foe' row

Liz Truss has explained that Emmanuel Macron is a good friend of Britain, obtaining declared during the summer months that “the jury’s out” on whether the French president was a buddy or foe.

“I get the job done pretty, extremely closely with President Macron and the French authorities and what we’re conversing about is how the United kingdom and France can do the job far more closely alongside one another to construct extra nuclear power stations and to make positive that both nations have power security in the long term,” the British prime minister instructed reporters in Prague, wherever she has been attending the first summit of the European Political Community.

When requested whether the French leader was a mate, she replied: “He is a close friend.”

“We’re both equally very very clear the foe is Vladimir Putin, who has via his appalling war in Ukraine threatened flexibility and democracy in Europe and pushed up electricity rates,” Truss went on.

Macron stated he was happy Truss had joined other European leaders. “It’s pretty good to have Liz Truss in Prague,” he reported at a information meeting immediately after the summit of EU and non-EU international locations.

“This is an island, but this island failed to shift from the continent,” Macron stated of submit-Brexit Britain. “I genuinely hope this is the beginning of the working day following.”

The two leaders held a bilateral assembly in Prague, and issued a joint statement agreeing to continue supporting Ukraine against Russia, function alongside one another on vitality approach, illegal migration and other matters. They also resolved to keep the upcoming British isles-France Summit in France in 2023.

Toward the end of August, Liz Truss — then overseas secretary and included in the operate-off to turn into Conservative Celebration chief and so the country’s new prime minister — ruffled diplomatic feathers with her reply to a problem at a campaign party.

“Emmanuel Macron, close friend or foe?” she was questioned.

“The jury’s out,” she replied, to laughter and applause from the viewers of Tory party sympathisers. “But if I come to be primary minister I will choose him on deeds not words and phrases.”

The backdrop was strained relations among France, exacerbated by Brexit and its fallout, as effectively as clashes about other difficulties these kinds of as fishing rights, migrants crossing the English Channel in smaller boats, and passport checks at borders.

In their joint assertion, Macron and Truss “agreed to deepen cooperation on unlawful migration in the bounds of international law, to tackle legal groups trafficking persons across Europe, ending in dangerous journeys across the Channel”.

“Inside Ministers should really conclude an formidable offer of steps this autumn. Leaders agreed to strengthen cooperation with close to neighbours, together with by means of an early meeting of the Calais group,” it extra.

The commitment to get the job done inside of international legislation and with neighbouring international locations will be pointed out by critics of the stance taken by the British governing administration less than Truss’ predecessor Boris Johnson.

Very last November France disinvited the then Household Secretary (inside minister) Priti Patel from a migrant disaster summit also involving Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany —after Johnson pre-empted the meeting by submitting a letter on social media suggesting methods the French experienced currently turned down.

The two leaders have very distinctive views on the European Union, and Truss was accused of actively playing to the gallery of her party’s supporters with her “jury’s out” remarks. Once a professional-European celebration, Britain’s Conservatives have due to the fact been through a massive eurosceptic transformation. In the wake of Brexit, EU enthusiasts have been largely purged.

Truss’ opinions were being observed as really serious however, given that France and the United kingdom are NATO allies, and Europe and the West have been striving to act in unity defending Ukraine in opposition to Russia’s war.

The Labour opposition accused her of a “woeful” absence of judgement, although two former Conservative ministers mentioned she had committed a “desperately severe mistake”.

President Macron responded at the time by stating that the Uk was “a friendly, solid and allied country, no matter of its leaders or the modest problems they can make in statements from the podium”.

Considering that Liz Truss grew to become prime minister, the British authorities has revealed indicators of wanting to build bridges with each France and the EU as a entire. She and Macron met at the United Nations Normal Assembly in mid-September.

On Tuesday,  the new British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly stated he had “no question” that the Uk would perform “brilliantly intently” with France, regardless of the recurring friction involving the two nations around the world.

European leaders gathered in Prague on Thursday for the inaugural meeting of the European Political Neighborhood — an initiative of the French president — to explore the continent’s issues, with leaders insisting on widespread values.

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