Emmanuel Macron orders Boris to smooth waters in storm over submarine
Andrew Pierce says France's submarines are 'useless'
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The pair spoke yesterday after French fury at Australia cancelling its lucrative contract to provide subs because it has formed a military pact with the US and Britain. The chat seemed to be a bid by Mr Johnson to calm tensions following his use of inflammatory language over France postponing meetings and recalling ambassadors. This week the Prime Minister used “Franglais” to tell Mr Macron to “prenez un grip”. Mr Macron’s office said Mr Johnson had requested the call and “expressed his intention to restore co-operation between France and the UK”, including on the climate crisis, terrorism and the Indo-Pacific region.
The French president told Mr Johnson “he is awaiting his proposals”, the Elysee added in a brief statement.
Downing Street’s description of the call was more muted, saying the men covered “a range of issues of mutual interest”. They included military co-operation through Nato, migrants making small boat crossings of the Channel, and post-Brexit issues.
The row began when the UK and US agreed to help Australia build a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines.
Paris called the deal a “stab in the back” after Canberra then pulled out of a £30billion agreement for France to supply it with conventionally powered diesel-electric vessels.
Buoyed by a positive meeting with US president Joe Biden in Washington, Mr Johnson stoked tensions further earlier this week by telling Mr Macron to give him a “break”.
Mr Biden and the PM have discussed further deepening the AUKUS pact, while maintaining that further allies, including France, would not be able to join.
Mr Johnson raised the possibility of it being extended to include technology, such as cyber and artificial intelligence. Sources said the men were potentially open to widening the pact to include principles on open markets, enhancing non-nuclear deterrents and tackling human rights abuses.
There has been some thawing of tensions between the US and France after Mr Macron and Mr Biden held a call, which will see France send back its ambassador to Washington next week.
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