Macron calls for ‘strengthened co-operation’ between UK and France


rench President Emmanuel Macron has called for “strengthened co-operation on energy” as he congratulated Liz Truss on winning the Tory leadership.

Mr Macron said that despite the relationship between the UK and France being different now due to Brexit, there is strong cooperation in nuclear energy which France is keen to continue.

Rising costs of energy bills is one of the many topics faced by the incoming prime minister, with the average annual energy bill set to jump by 80% in October from £1,971 to £3,549.

The energy crisis has been a global issue following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, which has contributed to the increase in oil and gas prices.

At a press conference given in French on Monday, Mr Macron told journalists: “I welcome Liz Truss. I express congratulations on behalf of all of France, and we are available to be able to work among, as they say, allies and friends.

“I think, whatever happens, we must on the subject of energy, as on others, have strengthened co-operation.

“We have the same values, we have a history of friendship, and we face shared challenges.

“The United Kingdom is a great country which is committed with us to defend the values of democracy by Ukraine’s side, and which also needs to strengthen its energy sovereignty and win the battle against climate change.

“That is the real agenda, and the rest is just political froth.”

Ms Truss has not gone out of her way to develop a warm relationship with France, declaring during a leadership hustings in Norwich in August that the “jury is out” on whether President Macron is a “friend or foe” to the UK.

Meanwhile, leaders of the European Commission said they hoped for a “positive” and “constructive” relationship with Ms Truss in her new position.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen offered her congratulations and added she wanted a “constructive relationship” with the new prime minister “in full respect of our agreements”.

Ms Truss has said she intends to press ahead with the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill, which will allow the Government to override parts of the agreement struck with the European Union on post-Brexit arrangements.

“The EU and the UK are partners,” Ms von der Leyen tweeted.

“We face many challenges together, from climate change to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“I look forward to a constructive relationship, in full respect of our agreements.”

European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic, who has been leading the Brussels side in talks on implementing the Brexit arrangements, said a “positive relationship” between the UK and EU “is of great strategic importance”.

“I stand ready to work intensively and constructively with my new UK interlocutor to foster such a partnership, in full respect of our agreements,” Mr Sefcovic tweeted.

Elsewhere, other prominent politicians and nation leaders congratulated Ms Truss on her victory.

Former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the “deep friendship” between his nation and the UK will strengthen under her leadership.

Mr Netanyahu, who is now leader of the opposition and hopes to regain the premiership as Israel heads into another election cycle, went on to thank Boris Johnson for “valued contributions” to the relationship between the UK and Israel.

Estonian prime minister Kaja Kallas offered her “heartfelt congratulations”, adding that she is “looking forward” to meeting the new Conservative leader again soon, after meeting with her during her time as Foreign Secretary.

Ms Kallas visited Downing Street in June to speak about strengthening the Nato alliance against Russian aggression – meeting outgoing Prime Minister Mr Johnson on the same day he faced a vote of confidence in his leadership.

Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida sent his “best wishes” to Ms Truss and added he has “high expectations” for how she will lead the United Kingdom.

Meanwhile, Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese also congratulated Ms Truss, tweeting: “I look forward to a continued constructive relationship and friendship between our nations and people.”

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte added that he hopes to further strengthen ties with the UK under Ms Truss’s leadership.

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