A New Era in British-French Relations

Similar Posts

This post is also available in: Türkçe Русский

There were various tensions between England and France due to the tension created by Brexit and the ongoing political turmoil for years. Therefore, on the occasion of the first England-France Summit held in Paris after a five-year hiatus on March 10, 2023, signals that a new era has begun in the relations between the parties have been given.

During the meetings between British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and French President Emmanuel Macron, steps to be taken to overcome common issues, including migration, energy and defence, were discussed. At the same time, the two leaders agreed that their priority would be to continue supporting Ukraine’s fight against Russian aggression. They also stated that they were united in their attitude towards the war.

High on the UK agenda is the rapid increase in migrants crossing the English Channel in small boats. According to the data obtained, more than 45,000 migrants crossed in 2022, most of them in flimsy boats, an increase of more than 60% compared to the previous year.[1] At the press conference held in Paris with the summit, Sunak announced that his government will contribute more than 500 million Euros to France in the next three years to stop illegal immigration in the English Channel. The agreement includes the UK to step up funding to France to allow hundreds of more French police to patrol the English Channel, as well as to set up a new detention center as a deterrent.[2]

The summit in Paris is also very important because it is the first face-to-face meeting between British and French leaders after Russia’s intervention in Ukraine. It is known that in the bilateral meeting, the parties agreed on defense issues such as helping Kiev win the war against Moscow, increasing the interoperability of its armed forces, training Ukrainian sailors for the development of complex weapons such as air defense and long-range weapons.[3]

Underlining the energy partnership, the two leaders committed to working together on low-carbon energy within the scope of the civil nuclear cooperation agreement, targeting Russian President Vladimir Putin, based on the necessity of energy security.

Macron, on the other hand, emphasized that Brexit caused some of the problems and that this situation should be corrected. As a matter of fact, Sunak is one of the leading figures supporting Britain’s departure from the European Union (EU). However, after the meeting, Sunak said that while Britain was leaving the EU; He emphasized that he did not leave Europe. However, both leaders stated that bilateral relations will become stronger in the future.

In short, the meeting between the two leaders indicates that the tense relations between Paris and London have evolved into a positive process since the 2016 Brexit vote. Sunak’s meeting with Macron at the Élysée Palace demonstrates the growing momentum of London’s relations with European capitals. Sunak’s visit to Paris, as part of deepening the dialogue with France and other European countries, following the tension created by the UK’s departure from the EU, is also a symbol of the progress in the government’s policies towards immigrants for the opposition and elections in the UK.

On the other hand, Macron also wants the activity on the coasts of his country to decrease. The fact that the two neighboring countries have common problems and difficulties shows the necessity of the emerging sincerity. It seems possible that the Sunak-Macron “brotherhood”, which has been brought to the fore, will evolve into different dimensions in the future in line with the decisions within the scope of the issues included in the agreement.

[1] “Macron and Sunak Renew Ties at First France-U.K. Summit in Five Years”,, The Washington Post, (Date of Accession:13.03.2023).

[2] “Macron and Sunak Agree to UK-France Migrant Deal in Reset Summit”,, Le Monde, (Date of Accession: 13.03.2023).

[3] “France and UK Hail a ‘New Beginning’ to post-Brexit Era, Agree Measures to Tackle Channel Crossings”,, CNBC, (Date of Accession:13.03.2023).