LONDON (Reuters) – French President Emmanuel Macron visited London on Thursday for a ceremony to mark the 80th anniversary of General de Gaulle’s call for wartime resistance, and to discuss Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic with Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
French President Emmanuel Macron gestures as he meets Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson at Downing Street in London, Britain, June 18, 2020. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/Pool
It is Macron’s first trip outside France and one of the most high-profile visits by a foreign leader since countries across the globe imposed lockdowns to curb the coronavirus.
The main focus for Macron was to mark De Gaulle’s “Appel” of June 18, 1940, a radio address he made to the French nation from BBC headquarters in London calling for resistance to the Nazi occupation of France during World War Two. [nL8N2DU5VH]
However, it also means Macron and Johnson can hold face-to-face talks on responses to the pandemic, including Britain’s 14-day quarantine of travellers from abroad, as well as post-Brexit negotiations.
Britain left the European Union on Jan. 31 but talks have so far made little progress on a new free trade deal by the end of the year, when a status-quo transition arrangement ends.
Johnson and EU leaders say a deal is achievable, but both sides say time is running out and the prospect of a no-deal outcome remains. [nL8N2DU4ZM] [nL8N2DS40A]
“We’ve agreed on both sides to energise and intensify the talks, we don’t want to hang aro