Le bromance! Boris and Macron FINALLY bury the hatchet in G7 meeting with Ukraine deal and plan for Anglo-French summit
- Boris Johnson and Emmanuel Macron glossed over tensions in talks at the G7
- The PM and French president put on an awkward show of bonhomie in Bavaria
- There have been tensions over the Ukraine response and the Brexit fallout
The PM jokingly hailed a ‘bromance’ after a cuddly meeting with the French president in Bavaria yesterday.
The two leaders – who had not held face-to-face talks for a year – are said to have agree a ‘reset’ in relations after months of tensions over the strategy for resolving the Ukraine crisis and Brexit. A major Anglo-French summit is being slated to happen soon.
However, there were hints of trouble ahead as the French side stressed Mr Johnson’s warm response to Mr Macron’s idea of an ‘EU lite’ group of affiliated nations including Britain. The PM’s aides made clear he was merely being polite and the UK would never join.
Despite being reelected as President in April, Mr Macron has been branded ‘Le Lame Duck’ after his party was humbled in local polls earlier this month.
He has also been criticised for his more conciliatory approach to Vladimir Putin after the invasion of Ukraine – which contrasts with Mr Johnson’s tough line.
Boris Johnson and French president Emmanuel Macron locked into an uncomfortable-looking embrace before their one-on-one meeting in Bavaria yesterday
The two leaders – who had not held face-to-face talks for a year – are said to have agree a ‘reset’ in relations
The pair seemed keen to show the warmth of their relations despite tensions over the strategy for resolving the Ukraine crisis and Brexit
A No10 source played up the progress made in the Macron meeting, saying they now believed the French president was ‘on the right page’ over Ukraine.
The leaders apparently agreed that defeating Russia is ‘option number one’, while failing that they should put Volodymyr Zelensky in the best position to strike a deal.
During the discussions, Mr Johnson warned that trying to settle the standoff with Russia to hastily will ‘only cause enduring instability’.
He said giving ground to Mr Putin would give him ‘licence to manipulate both sovereign countries and international markets in perpetuity’.
Although France has backed Ukraine, Mr Macron has appeared keener to come to terms with Mr Putin than other world leaders.
By contrast Mr Zelensky has hailed Mr Johnson for taking a tough line.
Mr Macron has also been one of the hard-liners within the EU over the Northern Ireland protocol and post-Brexit trade issues.
Before the meeting, Mr Johnson was asked whether France and Germany are doing enough over Ukraine.
In his response, Mr Johnson focused on Berlin’s response without mentioning France.
‘Just look at what the Germans alone have done,’ he said.
‘I never believed in my lifetime that I would see a German Chancellor stepping up in the way that Olaf Scholz has and sending weaponry to help the Ukrainians to to protect themselves.
‘He’s made huge, huge strides. We have 4 per cent of our gas comes from Russia, in Germany, it’s 40 per cent.
‘They’re facing real, real pressures, they’re having to source energy from elsewhere. But they’re doing it. They’re making the effort. They’re making the sacrifice.
‘That’s because they see that the price of freedom is worth paying.
‘This is something that it’s worth us standing up for together. And that is the principle that a free, independent sovereign country like Ukraine should not be violently invaded and should not have its boundaries changed by force.
‘And the consequences of what’s happening for the world are tough, but the price of backing down, the price of allowing Putin to succeed , to hack off huge parts of Ukraine, to continue with his programme of conquest, that price will be far, far higher and everybody here understands that.’
Once the cameras were turned off Mr Johnson warned that trying to settle the standoff with Russia to hastily will ‘only cause enduring instability’
Although France has backed Ukraine, Mr Macron has appeared keener to come to terms with Mr Putin than other world leaders
A No10 spokesman said of the meeting with Mr Macron: ‘They agreed this is a critical moment for the course of the conflict, and there is an opportunity to turn the tide in the war.
‘Both the Prime Minister and President Macron stressed the need to support Ukraine to strengthen their hand in both the war and any future negotiations.
‘President Macron praised the Prime Minister’s ongoing military support to Ukraine and the leaders agreed to step up this work.
‘The Prime Minister stressed any attempt to settle the conflict now will only cause enduring instability and give (Vladimir) Putin licence to manipulate both sovereign countries and international markets in perpetuity.
‘The leaders agreed to continue and enhance the close work between the UK and France on areas including defence and security.’