Macron is ‘anxious’ about Liz Truss says commentator
The two countries have encountered a rocky relationship over the past couple of years, dominated by rows over post-Brexit fishing rights, the flow of migrants across the English Channel and a series of insults traded between both. On Monday, the French President commented on Liz Truss winning the Tory leadership race and replacing Boris Johnson as Prime Minister, but not without a touch of irony. Emmanuel Macron said during a press conference: “We are available to be able to work between, as it were, allies and friends.”
That comment appears to make reference to those from Foreign Secretary Ms Truss last week when she told Tory members at a leadership hustings event that she was undecided as to whether the French leader was “friend or foe”.
She was asked by TalkTV’s Julia Hartley-Brewer, the event host, asked Ms Truss: “President Macron, friend or foe?”
“The jury’s out,” she responded to loud applause.
“But if I become Prime Minister, I would judge him on deeds, not words.”
Emmanuel Macron news: The French President has taken a dig at Liz Truss
Emmanuel Macron news: The French leader seemingly made reference to earlier comments from Liz Truss
Those comments triggered an immediate storm on both sides of the Channel, with former UK Ambassador to France Peter Ricketts condemning them as “irresponsible”.
Mr Macron was also quizzed on the remarks during a trip to Algiers on Friday in which he paused, took a deep breath and then puffed out his cheeks in mock despair.
He said: “It’s never good to lose your bearings in life. We live in a complicated world, you have more and more illiberals, authoritarian democracies, destabilizing powers.
“If we are not able to tell between France and the UK whether we are enemies or friends — the terms are not neutral — we are heading towards serious problems.
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Emmanuel Macron news: Liz Truss had been asked whether the French leader was a ‘friend or foe’
“For sure I say the British people — the nation that is the United Kingdom — is a friend, a strong and allied nation, whatever its leaders.
“And sometimes in spite of, and beyond, its leaders… or the little mistakes they make with campaign pot shots.”
But the comments on Monday greeting Ms Truss as the UK’s new Prime Minister come after the French President was forced into an embarrassing U-turn as the energy crisis continues to take a firm grip on Europe.
On August 24, Mr Macron had raised eyebrows in his own majority during a speech in the Council of Ministers by commenting on “the end of abundance, evidence and carelessness”, but now he appears to be changing his tone.
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Emmanuel Macron news: The French President with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz
Previously, he had exchanged video with Olaf Scholz on the energy crisis sweeping through Europe, and the German Chancellor had announced he wanted to use the profits of certain large companies to take the pressure off household bills.
But on Monday, Mr Macron addressed the French people, assuring them that with “simple gestures”, there would be “no fatality at all”.
The French President said he now wants a 10 percent reduction in the country’s energy use over the coming months, as he urged homes and businesses to cut back.
He warned energy rationing plans were being prepared for this winter “in case” voluntary efforts were not enough.
Mr Macron urged the French to turn down heating and air conditioning as the “best energy is that which we don’t consume”, while also warning that forced cuts “will happen as a last resort”.
Emmanuel Macron news: Gas and electricity price inflation around Europe
The French President listed a series of eco-efforts that would be aimed at people in his country spending a little less this winter.
These included statements such as “put the air conditioning a little less strong” when it’s hot, and to lower heating at home to “around 19C” when it’s cold.
In separate comments on Monday, Mr Macron also said France and Germany would help each other face the energy crisis stemming from the war in Ukraine.
He told a new conference following a call with Mr Scholz that France will provide Germany with gas, while Germany has agreed to send electricity to France, if needed.
The French President said: “Germany needs our gas and we need power from the rest of Europe, notably Germany.”