France's Secretary of State for European Affairs Laurence Boone has outlined to FRANCE 24 the sacrifices necessary to continue putting pressure on Moscow, saying "it is a war against Russia for democracy, for freedom and supporting Ukraine. We are not asking horrible things. To put the temperature at 19 degrees, that has always been the unspoken rule."
Key to supporting these efforts will be energy price caps, which will ensure that French and European consumers and households will be able to bear the sacrifices needed. Boone says that energy producers would no longer be able to generate "super large profits" and that those funds would serve to compensate consumers for their energy bills. She added that the EU’s solidarity mechanism would play an important role during the likely energy tensions in winter, saying “the solidarity is both ways, on the one hand we will give gas to Germany and other countries like Belgium – but they do provide us with electricity – like they did last year and the year before”.
Brexit remains a key issue for Paris and Brussels, with much speculation concerning the direction that the government of the new British Prime Minister Liz Truss will take on issues like the Northern Ireland Protocol. For Boone, the French government's position is clear: that France and the UK remain important allies. "President Macron and Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne have always been very clear that the door is open for discussion, that we can have debate, but on fundamental values we do agree. Within the G7, the UK is a very strong country, fighting against the hybrid war that Russia is leading both against Ukraine and against us. And that has not changed at all with any government.”
Of course, the death of Queen Elizabeth II overshadows any current diplomatic debates. As an Erasmus student studying in the UK, Boone actually met the queen. For her, the late monarch was an "institutional pillar and that shows, especially in this time where the rule of law is sometimes challenged, how important institutions are. So we are very very sorry to see her leave us."
Programme produced by Sophie Samaille, Isabelle Romero and Perrine Desplats