Macron speaks on problems in France-UK relations
London and Paris would have a “serious problem” in their relationship if they were unable to say whether they were friends or enemies, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Friday.
The remark came in response to statements made by Liz Truss, the favorite to become Britain’s next PM, who refused to say whether she viewed the French president as a “friend or foe.”
“If I become prime minister, I would judge him on deeds, not words. The jury’s out,” she said late on Thursday.
Macron was asked to comment on the remarks during his trip to Algeria, telling Truss that it was actually “not good to lose your bearings too much.” He also appeared to steer the personal-sounding statement by Truss into a broader question about the relationship between their two countries, unequivocally stating that “France is a friend of the British people.”
“The British people, the United Kingdom, is a friendly, strong and allied nation, regardless of its leaders, and sometimes in spite of its leaders or the little mistakes they may make in grandstanding,” Macron said.
“If we are not capable, between France and Britain, of saying whether we are friends or enemies – the term is not neutral – we are heading towards serious problems,” he warned.
Outgoing UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has rushed to soften the remarks by his potential successor, insisting that Macron has personally always been a “very good buddy” to London.
“I think I've always had very good relations with Emmanuel Macron. Emmanuel Macron est un très bon buddy de notre pays,” Johnson said, partially switching to French. London and Paris have had “very good” relations for over two centuries, he added “since the Napoleonic era basically,” and such ties should be “celebrated.”