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Tensions in Anglo-French relations


When the “Aukus” defense deal between Canberra, London and Washington last month broke France’s plans to sell submarines to Australia and angered the French, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson insisted Paris had nothing to worry about. “Our love for France is indomitable,” he said.

Even before Akus, Franco-British relations were sinking into new depths, largely due to what the French saw as the UK’s failure to implement key parts of the Brexit agreement.

“We are neighbors, partners and very close allies and have a common interest in ensuring that this bilateral relationship is strong and sustainable, and even deeper on defense and security,” French Minister of Europe Clement Beaune told the Financial Times.

“But, as they say, tango takes two. And now I fear that all signals sent by the UK are negative.

President Emmanuel Macron’s confidant Beyonc হুম threatened to take “retaliatory action” against the United Kingdom for deliberately, politically motivated, dragging the UK into fishing licenses on small French boats in British waters. Agreed to the Brexit agreement.

Although the European Commission and other members of the European Union have warned that the French call for a ban at the moment is supported by bilateral disputes over fish, Beaune and other ministers have suggested that they cut off electricity supplies from France to Jersey and even Britain. Industry estimates that France supplies about 2.5 percent of Britain’s annual supply.

French fishermen © Siegfried Modola / Getty after protesting in regional waters in Jersey earlier this year

“We are looking at all options in French and European,” Beaune said. “Everything is possible. It can be energy, it can be other products and other trade arrangements. It can certainly be fish production products.

Another fight over the post-Brexit settlement is an issue of the Northern Ireland Protocol on which France’s concerns have been widely shared by its EU partners – under which Johnson agreed to control the border in the Irish Sea so that the region could remain part of the bloc. Single market through land border.

The UK’s Brexit minister, Lord David Frost, has promised that the UK will suspend parts of the agreement if it does not receive a generous concession from the EU to Northern Ireland.

At a conference of the ruling Conservative Party in Manchester this week, UK ministers acknowledged that relations with Paris were deeply frozen and could remain so until further deterioration after next year’s French presidential race because politicians there were playing with domestic spectators. “Hopefully everything will melt after the election,” said a senior minister.

There are no regrets in London as the Akus agreement was signed. “Does anyone think that the French would have behaved differently if the shoes were on the other foot?” Said a cabinet minister.

But there is an acceptance that France can make life difficult in many respects. One minister said the only consolation was that “things could be much worse than they are now”.

The underlying problem from a French perspective is that, according to analysts, neither Johnson nor his government is credible in Paris.

“I think it’s very serious,” said Lord Peter Ricketts, a former UK ambassador to France. “It’s not just a short-term row. It is a deep loss of respect and trust. . . In the beginning, Macron kept Johnson interested after the win. But now they are [the French] He simply came to the conclusion that he was not an unfaithful and serious person.

The re-enmity between the two sides over the Brexit forecast has exacerbated problems, including the continued flow of migrants crossing the Channel in small boats, despite British-funded efforts by the French to stop them.

The management of the Covid-1 of is also problematic, with the UK at one stage imposing heavy restrictions on travelers from France who were perceived to be politically motivated.

But while Brexit and its aftermath remain the main bone of contention, the pro-Brexit British media has portrayed the actions of Macron and the French as a provocative punishment for Britain’s exit from the EU.

The front page of The Sun and the Daily Mail on Wednesday featured an anti-French lead story

The front page of The Sun and the Daily Mail on Wednesday featured an anti-French lead story

Tit-for-Tat Jibs has become the norm. Johnson ridiculed Macron as “Francis” for France’s anger about Akus, suggesting “Princess on Grip” and “Donez-Moi on Break”.

This prompted Beyonc প্রতিক to react by mocking Brexit who wanted to “tell us how everything works better in the UK than in the EU”. “I’m not saying that everything is perfect in the EU, but if Brexit is really about leaving Europe, then go for something else,” he said. To reuse the expression “give us a break”, we are simply trying to protect our interests and ensure that a contract is honored. ”

Beaune also surprisingly mentioned that if the Northern Ireland Protocol was really such a big problem, Northern Ireland would have more deficits than the rest of the UK, when in fact the opposite was true.

An area where both sides are keen to continue working together, in military operations, even as the enthusiasm for joint development of defense equipment has waned over the past decade. “There are no two armed forces that are more capable of consolidating,” Johnson said as he tried to calm Macron on Aukas.

France is similar to the two largest armies in Western Europe. Georgina Wright, head of the Europe program at the Institute Montaigne, said: “The French have always made sure that the UK plays a key role in European security. There is a desire to move beyond Brexit. But [UK’s] The strained relations with Europe led to bloodshed in bilateral relations.

For Mujtaba Rahman of Eurasia Group Consultancy, Franco-British cooperation on defense and security is overshadowed by current bad-tempered politics.

“Unfortunately, the relationship could be unstable for some time, as Macron is entering a difficult electoral cycle and the UK continues to sacrifice the EU for domestic political advantage,” he said.



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