Panicking Macron's minister demands 'new start' in France-UK relations if Truss wins

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French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said on Monday that should her British counterpart Liz Truss win the race to become the leader of the governing Conservative Party and prime minister in Britain, one can hope for a new start in relations between the two countries.

Ms Colonna told RTL radio: “I do not know if Mrs Truss will be designated.

“If it is her, let’s hope it is a new start.”

Relations between France and the UK have been oscillating in the past few months, with Ms Truss casting doubts on Emmanuel Macron.

The Foreign Secretary told Tory members at leadership hustings in Norwich last month that she was undecided as to whether the French leader was “friend or foe”.

A number of issues have affected the UK and France in recent months, including boat crossings in the Channel and travel chaos around Dover, which Ms Truss blamed on a lack of staffing by the French authorities.

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.”

Elsewhere in the hustings, Ms Truss conceded that if it were a choice between relying on France or China for nuclear expertise, she would pick France.

Taking questions in front of an audience of Tory members, she said: “I’m very clear that we need to boost our nuclear industry including Sizewell, including the small modular reactors that are produced in Derbyshire.

“Frankly, I would rather that we do have more homegrown nuclear expertise, and regrettably we lost that because we failed to do these things 20 years ago, or 30 years ago.

“If it’s a choice between relying on France and relying on China, I would take France.”

It comes after Ms Truss distanced the UK from the prospect of a project of being part of a wider European political community following a meeting between Boris Johnson and the French president in June.

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The Elysee Palace insisted that the Prime Minister had expressed interest in the idea, which would see non-EU states such as the UK involved.

Ms Truss denied the UK had ever been on board with such a proposal, saying afterwards: “That is not true.

“I don’t know the exact words that President Macron has used, but we have not agreed to that.”

Asked whether she bought into “his political and economic community”, she replied: “No.”

In July, she said delays to the journeys of holidaymakers near Dover were the fault of French authorities and had been “entirely avoidable”.

Mrs Truss is expected to be named leader of the governing Conservative Party and Britain’s next prime minister today.



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