French-UK leaders’ changing tone: From ‘Donnez-moi un break’ to texting about football
As British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and French President Emmanuel Macron exchanged rugby shirts at the Elysée palace on Friday (10 March), it was in sharp contrast in tone to years of acrimony between London and Paris.
“He was very elegant,” Sunak said about Macron.
The so-called AUKUS deal marked a low point in Franco-British relations. The French foreign minister at the time, Jean-Yves Le Drian, said France had been “stabbed in the back”.
Their relationship had already been tested by years of bitter negotiations on the terms of Britain’s departure from the European Union since it voted to leave the block in 2016. Macron’s hardball tactics to ensure French fishermen got a good deal had made him the bete noire of British tabloids.
An aide to Johnson told Reuters during the Brexit talks that if they failed, his team had decided “we can always blame the French”. That was always the default position of British diplomacy, the official joked.
‘European Political Community’ takes shape in face of Russia’s war
Leaders of 44 European countries are set to gather in Prague on Thursday (6 October) for their inaugural summit of the European Political Community (EPC), a new format searching for a purpose as multiple crises hit the continent.