Rishi Sunak and Emmanuel Macron held their first phone call this morning, but the two world leaders appear to have ignored the issue of Brexit and the Northern Ireland Protocol negotiations. The readout from their call included no mention of the issues, which have caused tensions between the UK and France since the 2016 Brexit referendum result. A Downing Street spokesperson said Mr Sunak “stressed the importance he places on the UK’s relationship with France – our neighbour and ally”.
He also “noted the strong historic and cultural links” between the two countries, which he said was “exemplified by President Macron’s moving words following the death of Her Majesty The Queen”.
The Downing Street official added: “The leaders agreed that there are a huge range of areas where UK-France cooperation is vital, including on Ukraine, climate, defence and the economy.
“The Prime Minister and President Macron discussed a range of global issues, including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“They agreed on the importance of continuing to work in support of Ukraine.
“As people across Europe face a difficult winter, with rising energy costs resulting from Putin’s invasion, the leaders resolved to work together to secure a more stable energy future. This includes increasing cooperation on nuclear energy.”
The pair also discussed migration, with Mr Sunak stressing the “importance for both nations to make the Channel route completely unviable for people traffickers.”
The Prime Minister’s spokesperson added: “The leaders committed to deepening our partnership to deter deadly journeys across the Channel that benefit organised criminals.
“The Prime Minister and President Macron looked forward to meeting soon, and to holding a UK-France Summit next year.”