Macron calls for closer relationship between UK and France on nuclear energy

French president acknowledges Brexit affected relationship, but says he is looking forward to working with new PM

France's President Emmanuel Macron welcomed Liz Truss's win and added: '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.' EPA
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French 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 co-operation in nuclear energy, which France is keen to continue.

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

The energy crisis has become 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 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.”

He added that France and the UK share values and have faced shared challenges throughout their long history of friendship.

“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,” he continued.

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

Liz Truss's political career — in pictures

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 Mr 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.

Liz Truss elected as the next UK prime minister — video

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 enacting 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 national 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” and added that she is “looking forward” to meeting the new Conservative leader again soon, after meeting 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 departing 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 UK.

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 said that he hopes to further strengthen ties with the UK under Ms Truss’s leadership.

Updated: September 06, 2022, 12:49 AM