Sunak dismisses Macron’s EU ‘superpower’ bid and insists ‘we are UK’

Joe Biden greeted by Sunak as he arrives in Northern Ireland

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak appeared to distance himself from Emmanuel Macron after the French President said the EU should become a “third superpower” away from diplomatic differences between the US and China over Taiwan. Rishi Sunak insisted the UK was a “foreign policy superpower” in its own right, following Emmanuel Macron’s comments about Europe’s response to China and the US.

The Prime Minister said: “On this question about European superpowers… we left the EU, we are the UK.”

He highlighted the AUKUS submarine deal with the US and Australia, the Windsor Framework agreement with the EU, the Anglo-French summit and the accession to the CPTPP Pacific trade area as examples of the UK’s global status.

He added: “We don’t need to be part of the EU to be a foreign policy superpower, we are a foreign policy superpower.”

It comes after Macron elicited doubts over his position on Taiwan’s status and Europe’s alliance with the US in an interview with French newspaper Les Echos and Politico Europe.

He said: “The question we need to answer, as Europeans, is the following: is it in our interest to accelerate (a crisis) on Taiwan? No.

“The worst thing would be to think that we Europeans must become followers on this topic and take our cue from the US agenda and a Chinese overreaction.”

Also distancing himself from Macron’s position, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt told Politico that Europe and the United States need to “stand together” to defend “democracy and freedom”.

He said: “Ukraine stands free and independent today, because of leadership by the United States.

“That says to me one very simple thing: that when Europe and the United States stand together, we can successfully defend democracy and freedom around the world.

“And that to me isn’t just the big lesson of the last year, but it’s actually the big lesson of the last 100 years as well.”

The French President defended his comments to reporters on a visit to The Netherlands earlier this week.

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He said: “The position of France and the Europeans on Taiwan is the same. We are for the status quo, and this policy is constant.

“It hasn’t changed. It’s the policy of one China and the peaceful settlement of the question.”

Macron said he spoke to US President Joe Biden before he travelled to China. A string of foreign politicians has visited Taiwan in recent months, including then-US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and numerous politicians from the EU.

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