Home World News The UK and France must mend ties – lives depend on it

The UK and France must mend ties – lives depend on it

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Four centuries ago, the poet Philip Sidney put his finger on the constant ambivalence in the UK-French relationship when he referred to “that sweet enemy, France”. There is not much sweetness right now. In fact, relations are the worst I have known them in my 40 years as a diplomat.

How have things got so bad? The way Brexit was handled has played a large part in unsettling what had been a close partnership. In particular, Boris Johnson’s handling of the Northern Ireland protocol left the impression in Paris that the Prime Minister had either not understood its terms or never intended to implement them. Since then, the aftershocks of Brexit have continued to get in the way of efforts to promote “Global Britain”. Most of them have involved London and Paris, whether it was the Johnson/Macron spat at the Cornwall G7…

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