On Friday in Paris, French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Narendra Sunak sought to restore bilateral ties frayed in recent years by disagreements over a fisheries pact, illegal migration via the Channel, and an Australian submarine contract issue.
At a joint news conference after the 36th Franco-British Summit, Macron called the meeting a “summit of fresh ambition” and expressed optimism that it would signal a “new beginning” for the two countries.
Sunak, for one, said that their relationship “had had its struggles in recent years,” but that “today’s meeting does represent a fresh beginning.”
In a joint statement published Friday, France and Britain reaffirmed their “for many years” friendship and relationship and vowed to strengthen bilateral cooperation in areas such as military and security, energy and decarbonization, and illegal migration.
They also reiterated the “fundamental relevance” of NATO and European arms cooperation.
“The two nations will pursue further areas of collaboration to improve the interoperability of their military capabilities, including directed-energy weapons, as well as the potential afforded by a future joint program for precision deep-strike capabilities,” the statement stated.
France and the United Kingdom also signed a contentious new agreement to prevent illegal migration over the English Channel, under which London will pay Paris millions of euros from 2023 to 2026 and a detention facility would be created in northern France.
With Brexit, France-Britain relations have reached an all-time low. The two nations had disagreements over French fishermen’s fishing permits, illegal migration over the Channel, and Australia’s decision to cancel the submarine contract with France in favor of British nuclear-powered options.