French and British leaders met on Friday to ease migration and strengthen military ties after years of disputes over Brexit.

Rishi Sunak, who became British Prime Minister in October, is hoping to capitalize on renewed goodwill with Emmanuel Macron and, upon arriving in Paris, said he wanted to start talks with the European Union on a deal that would allow him possibly to return to Britain. .migrants arriving on British shores.

The meeting is the first summit of Europe’s two main military nations – both permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and nuclear powers – in five years.

The two former investment bankers, accompanied by seven ministers from each side, also met with business leaders from both countries to deepen their economic relations. Their talks will also focus on Indo-Pacific cooperation, China and nuclear energy.

Relations have often been rocky since Britain voted to leave the EU in 2016, but have been bolstered by both countries’ support for Ukraine since the Russian invasion.

Contrary to recent rebukes, Macron received Sunak at the Elysee Palace and the two greeted each other with smiles and pats on the back.

“The partnership between the UK and France runs deep,” Sunak said on Twitter. “From fighting illegal immigration to growing our economies and defending our common security, when we work together, we all benefit. It is in this spirit that I look forward to meeting @EmmanuelMacron today today.”

A French presidential adviser said the summit’s priority was for the two NATO allies to reconnect. At the end of the month, King Charles will also travel to France for his first state visit as monarch.

(Additional reporting by William James and John Irish; editing in Spanish by Carlos Serrano)

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