French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday in Paris after a summit with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak welcomed a “new beginning” in bilateral relations after years of post-Brexit squabbles. “It is a moment of reunion, reconnection, and a new beginning,” Macron said during a joint press conference.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak met French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris to discuss increased support for Ukraine in the short and long term, including the supply of new weapons and training of the Ukrainian army.
Those discussions took place during the first bilateral summit between the two countries in five years.
The agenda of the British-French summit included a discussion of energy security and the fight against illegal immigration.
The day before, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak considered it “essential” to have a “close partnership” between his country and France, on the eve of his participation with President Emmanuel Macron in the first Franco-British summit since 2018, organized after years of tension.
“Our deep-rooted history, closeness and shared vision of global challenges mean that a close partnership between the UK and France is not only important, but it is also essential,” Sunak said in a statement.
“At a time when we face new and unprecedented threats, it is essential to strengthening the foundations of our alliance so that we are ready to meet the challenges of the future.”
More than 45,000 migrants crossed the English Channel toward Britain in 2022
The discussions will focus on “strengthening our partnership to face common challenges,” according to a Downing Street statement that specifically refers to combating illegal immigration.
More than 45,000 migrants crossed the English Channel towards Britain in 2022, which is a record number, despite the conclusion of agreements between Paris and London on this issue.
On Tuesday, the British government introduced a bill that would allow the rapid deportation of all migrants who arrived in the country illegally and prevent them from seeking asylum.
At a time when Russia’s war on Ukraine is a common challenge for the two European militaries, Sunak and Macron will discuss “strengthening NATO to protect our citizens” and “strengthening Ukraine’s ability to defend itself now and in the long term,” according to the statement.
In order to support Kyiv, they are expected to “agree to coordinate the delivery of weapons to Ukraine and the training of Ukrainian military personnel.”
The two leaders will also discuss their countries’ presence in the Indo-Pacific region.