France-UK to hold defence summit in early 2023

French President Emmanuel Macron on the sidelines of the COP27 climate summit in Egypt.
French President Emmanuel Macron on the sidelines of the COP27 climate summit in Egypt. AFP - LUDOVIC MARIN

Britain and France will hold a summit in the first quarter of 2023 aimed at reinforcing their military and defence cooperation, French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Wednesday.


Macron announced the summit while laying out his strategic defence priorities for France and Europe in the coming years.

"Our partnership with the United Kingdom must also be raised to another level," Macron said onboard a helicopter carrier at the Mediterranean naval base at Toulon.

"I hope that we will actively resume our dialogue on operations, capacities, nuclear and hybrid areas and renew the ambitions of our two countries as friends and allies," Macron said.

France is banking on a reset with Britain under its new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, following years of tense relations under Boris Johnson and later Liz Truss.

Crucial importance of Germany

President Macron has also insisted on the need for deeper military cooperation with Germany, described as an "indispensable partner" for building up Europe's military autonomy.

The two countries have agreed to work together, notably on next-generation fighter jets and tanks, but both projects have reportedly stalled on divergences over technical needs and how to share production.

"The success of the European project depends in large part, I believe, on the balance of our partnership," Macron said.

"In that regard I hope that we can make decisive progress in the coming weeks."

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