You are here

Britain’s Sunak set to push ‘UK priorities’ at Europe, G-7 meets

By AFP - May 14,2023 - Last updated at May 14,2023

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaks at the House of Commons in London (AFP file photo)

LONDON — British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will embark next week on a “diplomatic drive to push UK priorities on the world stage”, attending summits in Iceland and Japan, his office said on Saturday.

Sunak will undertake “a packed tour of international engagements”, heading to a Council of Europe meeting on Tuesday in the Icelandic capital Reykjavik before visiting Tokyo and then Hiroshima for a G-7 gathering.

He will focus on driving economic growth and investment in the UK, as well as shoring up support for Ukraine and addressing “critical global challenges like illegal migration”, Downing Street added.

Sunak, who became premier in October, departs Britain under growing domestic political pressure following disastrous local election results last week that saw his Conservative Party routed.

Meanwhile, the worst cost-of-living crisis in a generation shows little sign of abating, with inflation remaining stubbornly high and fuelling industrial action as workers demand pay increases to match rising prices.

A general election is due next year and Sunak has tied his fortunes to several key aims, including halving inflation and curbing illegal cross-Channel migration in small boats.

“I will be travelling from Reykjavik to Hiroshima to drive global action on our most pressing priorities,” he said in a statement.

“Many of the challenges we are dealing with, from inflation to migration, must be solved by working closely with our international partners.”

‘Complex threats’ 


The 46-nation Council of Europe, founded in 1949, seeks to uphold democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

Britain, which remains a member despite having quit the EU, is seeking to reset ties with key European neighbours, following strained relations under Sunak’s recent predecessors.

“He will use his engagements at the summit to discuss the importance of strengthening Europe’s borders — tackling illegal migration and the threat posed by Russia to safeguard our security and prosperity,” his office said.

In Tokyo, Sunak will hold bilateral meetings and announce new UK-Japan defence and technology collaboration, as well as hosting a business leaders’ reception to seek new inward investment.

A day later he will travel to Hiroshima, the first visit by a British prime minister to the city, for the G-7 gathering.

Calling Japan a “vital economic and defence partner for the UK in the Indo-Pacific”, he said the meeting was coming “at a pivotal moment” for the Western alliance as it faces “complex threats to global peace and prosperity”.

“The UK will galvanise international action on economic coercion by hostile states and shore up support for Ukraine, as they prepare for escalating military action against Russia’s war of aggression,” Downing Street added.

Sunak is expected to hold a number of bilateral meetings alongside the summit sessions, it noted.

27 users have voted.


Get top stories and blog posts emailed to you each day.