President Macron has been accused of stonewalling plans for an Anglo-French summit amid a “toxic” diplomatic relationship between London and Paris, reports The Times.
Diplomats have been attempting to arrange a high-level meeting between Boris Johnson and the French president for months in an effort to reset the so-called “entente cordiale”.
But amid recriminations on both sides the French are understood to be refusing to agree a date for the summit, with one source saying the relationship was currently “appalling”.
“The government has reached out to try to arrange a summit but the French aren’t interested,” said one senior diplomatic source. “They’ve simply said there’s no point.”
A senior government source said there was a view that “elements of the French system are basically crossing the street to pick a fight every day”.
Figures on both sides of the Channel point to bad blood and recriminations across a range of policy areas including Brexit fishing rights, cross-Channel migration, the supply and safety of the AstraZeneca vaccine and Covid quarantine restrictions.
On Covid, French ministers were incensed by what they saw as the government’s attempts to talk up the early success of the British vaccine programme — contrasting it with the EU’s faltering early steps.