President Emmanuel Macron visits London on Thursday to mark the 80th anniversary of General de Gaulle’s appeal to the French resistance and to discuss Brexit with Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Macron, who will be hosted by heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles, will mark de Gaulle’s June 18, 1940 “Appel” from BBC headquarters in London for resistance to the Nazi occupation of France during World War Two.
It is Macron’s first trip outside France since a lockdown to control the coronavirus. He and Johnson will discuss the response to the pandemic, including Britain’s quarantine of travellers from abroad, as well as Brexit.
Britain, which left the bloc on Jan. 31, and the European Union say a deal is achievable by the end of the year when a status-quo transition arrangement ends, but talks have been difficult and the prospect of a no-deal outcome remains.
Britain says the EU must break a fundamental impasse to clinch a deal in the next few months.
“We’ve agreed on both sides to energise and intensify the talks, we don’t want to hang around, we’re not going to wait for this to be dragged out into the autumn and the winter,” British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told LBC radio.
Raab said Macron’s visit showed that despite some difficulties in centuries of Franco-British relations, the two neighbours stood beside each other in times of need.
“It shows that with France, when we’ve had sometimes a difficult relationship at points in our history, that actually when it really counts we stand shoulder to shoulder together”, Raab said.
“There are a huge range of issues, Brexit, COVID, I’m cooperating very closely with the French on Iran, the Middle East and on Hong Kong and actually it’s a really important relationship and we’re proud he’s coming here to bestow that honour on London and on the British people.”