Liz Truss New Prime Minister, “Good News” or “Big Trouble” for France?

i love you, neither do I. relationships Franco-British As we know it, we are of the volatile kind: ancient enemies, allies in world wars, historic rivals in rugby, football and almost every sport, they hate our rock but love our clothes, we laugh at their cooking but we enjoy their beers. In this strange pact, each new head of state is viewed with suspicion on the other side of the Channel: he/she arrives, good news Or Bad news ?

Imagine when the new British Prime Minister, Liz dressAbsorbed on Monday, not released until two weeks ago She doesn’t know if Emmanuel Macron is a “friend” or an “enemy”.. Bad mood ahead?

Hence British pragmatism

Be careful not to base all future British foreign policy on this single statement, admittedly very dangerous: “It was a question in the internal debate of the Conservative Party, where the aim was to mobilize the majority of the voting members”, co-author Agnes Alexandre-Collier, a professor at the University of Burgundy. Political parties in Britain (Collection U, 2013) and specialist in British political life. A highly politicized and radicalized model of population, therefore, “called for an expansion of discourse. Little French pounding In campaigning, it never hurts to make voters happy. “Now that Liz Truss sits in Downing StreetHis speech would “become nationalistic and less about the sole ideology of the party”.

A similar observation with Philip Sasine, professor of modern history and expert on Great Britain: “The Conservative Party in no way represents British opinion. The Prime Minister will inevitably soften his positions. Liz Truss is known for her political pragmatism: she voted against Brexit In 2016, before becoming one of his strongest supporters for agreeing with the political principle Boris Johnson.

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The lost dream of “global Britain”.

Agnes Alexandre-Collier summarizes, “For once, real politics and facts catch up with you.” Especially the first one Realpolitik is looking pretty good on the other side of the channel right now, with inflation over 10% in a year, the energy crisis, massive strikes, labor shortages and a slightly slower-than-expected Brexit. The UK Not enough to really clear your chest, and since the weather isn’t great on France’s side, “a minimum of good relations, diplomatic and economic,” declares the author. Twenty seven It is Britain’s leading economic partner.

BoJo tried to redeem himself by trying to revive a “global Britain”, a broad concept that sought to maximize trade deals with the former colonies of the British Empire. But even there, the principle of realism struck: “It is above the order of imagination. Example with India. Indians certainly have some British cultural heritage and express themselves well in English. But Country No economic ties with the UK. New Delhi is very focused on the Asian market, which is completely natural,” points out Philippe Chassin.

Populism is very attractive

As the history professor lists, the same goes for Washington, who never spared London. In 2016, following Brexit, Barack Obama said the United Kingdom was at the bottom of the list of countries likely to receive a free trade agreement. America. And then Donald Trump did his usual face-off with the historic ally. Today, Joe Biden’s Irish appearance “doesn’t plead in favor of a good deal with London given the thorny issue of the Northern Irish border,” concludes Philip Sassine.

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What makes London so appealing to Paris and Berlin? Not so fast. The simmering crisis across the Channel, on the other hand, could be the perfect opportunity to hit Europe even harder, “to create a diversion”, believes Elvire Fabry, a researcher and Brexit expert at the Jacques Delors Institute. Liz Truss was Foreign Secretary under Bojo, and he was not very easy, the researcher recalls: “During the fishing crisis in Franco-British waters, he threatened to send the Royal Navy. Throughout his campaign, he pressed for a new arrangement of the Northern Irish Treaty”, which A hot point of disagreement with Brussels.

Johnson’s legacy is firmly rooted: “British identity is increasingly constructed against European identity, and anti-European and anti-French populism will have to work for a long time”, continues Gilles Latier, professor and expert on Great Britain. University of South Toulon-Var. And yet, politics, a fortiori British, is surprising, he concludes: “Liz Truss will prove that once she actually comes to power, for better or for worse. She is often compared to Margaret Thatcher, but when the latter took office, no one knew that she would make such an impression. » Que sera, sera, Whatever Will Be, Will Be.

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