Emmanuel Macron receives this Friday, March 10 at the Elysée the British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. This Franco-British summit, the first since 2018, is placed under the sign of ” reconnect ” and ” renewal after years of tension. The objective is to strengthen cooperation on immigration, but many other subjects will be on the agenda for this ambitious meeting.
Rishi Sunak hopes to revive Franco-British relations – his two predecessors, Boris Johnson and Liz Truss, had had rather harsh words towards the French president, notes Emeline Wine, our correspondent in London. The commonalities and the bromance (for fraternal romance as translated by the BBC) between the two forties, Sunak and Macron, is also the delight of press photographers.
Immigration, but also the environment, the war in Ukraine, the Iranian nuclear program, bilateral trade: many subjects must be discussed during this summit. After years of delicate relations against the background of Brexit and Covid, it is time for a new beginning.
Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the two countries have worked closely together within NATO. The British government is aware of the importance of giving the appearance of unity among Western powers in the face of war. Announcements are expected in terms of training and equipment for the Ukrainian military.
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Immigration, a hot topic
London also wants to make progress on the issue of the fight against illegal immigration. This is one of the five promises made by Rishi Sunak, on which he pledged to his constituents. Promises on which he will be judged in next year’s general election.
The figures are constantly increasing: 46,000 people crossed the Channel on small makeshift boats last year, a record.
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On Tuesday 7 March, the British government presented a bill intended to drastically restrict the right to asylum. This text, which makes asylum inaccessible to migrants who have arrived illegally, is denounced by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. It will be discussed in London in September, which leaves time, it is estimated in Paris, to develop the controversial text.
This is totally against the Geneva convention on refugees…
How do migrant aid associations react?
Rishi Sunak knows that Paris will not accept the return of these migrants, most of whom left Calais. But he may intend to forge a new partnership with the French police, to prevent departures. And does not exclude that Emmanuel Macron will help him reach a relocation agreement with the European Commission.
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