French and United Kingdom Relations

british flagFrance and the UK were enemies off and on since the Middle Ages.

Beginning in the 20th Century, a policy of cordial agreement was established and the UK and France became political allies, despite occasional tensions between the two countries.

For example, there was the French perception that the British abandoned the French in 1940 and the perception among several in Great Britain that France wrongly opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Despite these tensions, they remain allies to the present day.

A chronic point of contention between the two countries has been the future of the European Union. Under French president Charles de Gaulle, France opposed the UK joining the European Economic Community or the EU. De Gaulle made the argument that the UK had extensive alliances outside Europe, especially with the US and was suspicious of other European countries.

After the UK joined the EU, Margaret Thatcher argued for and won a reduction of the UK’s contributions to the EU budget. An alliance between the two countries exists despite mutual skepticism of the other’s economic policies.

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