Macron, Sunak to hold talks in Paris
Each head of State will have seven ministers on their side to assess matters related to foreign affairs, defense, the economy, the interior, energy, the environment and transport.
French President Emmanuel Macron and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak are set to meet on Friday in Paris to discuss a broad range of topics.
The bilateral agenda includes discussions on the energy crisis, migration, the Ukraine conflict, post-Brexit mobility, the development of weapons for NATO to counter the perceived 'Russian threat,' and the revival of a multi-billion dollar deal with Australia on the sale of nuclear submarines.
On matters related to the energy crisis, the two countries were engulfed by a series of strikes over the rising cost of living as a result of high energy costs.
The UK alone lost a record number of working days totaling 2,471,000 between June and December last year due to the strikes.
On the other hand, France has faced its own share of strikes over Emmanuel Macron's controversial pension reform aiming to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64, with 1.28 million people protesting recently in the streets, according to official figures.
In migration-related matters, the UK has recently introduced a bill on illegal migration that, if passed, would undoubtedly annihilate the rights for refugee protection in the country.
Sunak, who is himself the son of Indian immigrants, has laid a five-point illegal immigration plan aiming to stop small boats from crossing the Channel to the UK.
According to AFP, citing an aide to Macron, the UK has invested extensive resources in financing France to assist with patrol duties. A summit pact will focus on "increasing the resources deployed to manage this common border, with multi-year financing", they said.
The two leaders will also discuss the revival of a deal between France and Australia, which was suspended in 2021 due to Australia calling off the purchase at the expense of increasing cooperation in the AUKUS alliance.
AUKUS leaders are scheduled to meet on Monday to discuss Australia's bid to purchase nuclear-powered submarines, and while Australia is set to choose whether to purchase British-made Astute-class nuclear-powered submarines or American-designed Virginia-class submarines, reports have emerged that the UK may be taking the lead in securing the deal.
As for the development of new weapons to strengthen NATO capabilities, the two leaders "are expected to agree to further enhance UK-France military interoperability and industrial cooperation, including agreeing to scope the co-development of next-generation deep precision strike weaponry – the kind of long-range capability which NATO needs to protect against the growing threat from Russia," a statement issued by the UK government reads.
"The UK and France, therefore, have a responsibility to work together to guarantee Europe's security," the statement added.
The Anglo-French summit will mark the first in five years and the first since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Each head of State will have seven ministers to assess matters related to foreign affairs, defense, the economy, the interior, energy, the environment, and transport.