French Europe Minister makes her first visit to London
Europe Minister meets MPs including Steve Barclay and Alan Duncan, and the French community, during first visit to London since her appointment to the role
Mme Amélie de Montchalin, Minister of State for European Affairs, attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, was in London yesterday to meet a variety of political figures to discuss Brexit and the European elections.
The Minister of State and her counterpart, Sir Alan Duncan, Minister of State for Europe and the Americas, expressed their shared desire for great vigilance on the next stages of Brexit, and an awareness of France and Britain’s responsibilities towards European citizens.
The Minister of State then had a constructive discussion with Stephen Barclay, the Brexit Secretary, during which they discussed the next stages of Brexit and issues of common interest such as the importance of European citizens’ rights. The two ministers pledged to maintain positive relations between France and the UK after Brexit.
The Minister of State also met MPs, including Vince Cable, leader of the Liberal Democrat party, and Hilary Benn, Chair of the parliamentary Exiting the European Union Select Committee, for talks on the European elections, the major challenges in Brussels, Brexit and the shifting power balance in British domestic politics.
In the context of France’s Council of Europe presidency, Mme de Montchalin also had the opportunity to talk to Sir Roger Gale, head of the British parliamentary delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
Mme de Montchalin reaffirmed to these contacts, and the Guardian newspaper in particular, that France considers the withdrawal agreement negotiated between the UK and the 27 to be “the only possible way forward” for an “orderly” Brexit.
Finally, in the presence of British MP Dominic Grieve, and Baroness Blackstone, she talked to the new cohort of the Franco-British Council’s Young Leaders, French press correspondents in London and members of the French community, including French students and pupils at London’s French Lycée. The Minister of State confirmed once again to the French community that France’s priority is to protect the rights of French and other European citizens in the UK, whatever the outcome of Brexit.
A few days after the ceremonies to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Normandy Landings, which highlighted the historic ties between France and the UK, this visit is an opportunity to emphasize the close links between our two countries and reiterate the importance we attach to our bilateral relationship.