Tim KorsoAll materialsWrite to the authorRelations between the two countries have of late been undermined by a series of issues – ranging from a brief row over fishing licenses and detention of a British ship to a major scandal of the UK inking a security pact with the US and Australia without any prior warning.British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is willing to ink a new and improved “Entente Cordiale” (Cordial Agreement) between the UK and France in order to mend bilateral relations after the damage done by recent rows, The Sunday Times has reported, citing anonymous sources in the government.British officials are already reportedly working on figuring out the terms of the future agreement, which the newspaper said would go beyond simply fixing bilateral ties and will be more far-reaching than any previous deal between London and Paris – creating a strategic alliance between the two.
"Getting the band back together, kissing and making up, seems to us inadequate for the times we are in. The question we are asking is: what's the highest ambition we can have here and how quickly can we do it?", one British official told the newspaper.
At the same time, London allegedly does not envision the start of the talks on the agreement before the presidential elections in France in April 2022. Therefore, there is no telling whether Boris Johnson will be discussing the matter with Emmanuel Macron or with someone else.
The reports of the proposed “Entente” come hot on the heels of several diplomatic rows between the UK and France. Last month, Paris detained a British fishing boat as part of its protest against London’s handling of fishing licenses for its waters. France insisted that the UK did not issue all of the licenses it was due.
How Does British ‘Mass Migration Crisis’ Affect UK-France Relations and Counter-Terror Strategy?19 November, 16:09 GMTAnother scandal that sent Franco-British ties into a nosedive took place in September 2021, when the UK concluded a security pact (AUKUS) with the US and Australia, while failing to notify its European allies of the plans. The pact also suggested the US and the UK will hand over nuclear submarine propulsion technology to Australia and help it build a nuclear submarine fleet. This provision resulted in Canberra dropping a multibillion-euro contract with France for the purchase of diesel-powered submarines.The two countries also wrangled over the issue of illegal immigration as over 24,000 migrants have already crossed over from France to the UK in 2021, which is three times more than last year. Paris blames British NGOs, as well as criminal groups, for fostering the smuggling of people. London, in turn, suggests that France itself should better monitor its shores for departing migrants, although UK Home Secretary Priti Patel admitted that the EU’s open borders policy was partly to blame as it left French border forces “overwhelmed”.