British prime minister heads to Paris for talks with French president on nuclear energy, Syria and Iran
10.12am: The prime minister’s car has just arrived at the Elysee Palace. David Cameron stepped out of his car and was greeted by Nicolas Sarkozy on the steps. The two men shook hands in a businesslike fashion, and disappeared inside the building.
10.11am: The Press Association has more details on the nuclear deal between Britain and France:
Downing Street said that by joining forces in the nuclear sector, Britain and France can develop a competitive supply chain capable of seizing opportunities around the world.
Rolls-Royce will today sign a £400m deal with French energy giant Areva to supply services to the first EPR [nuclear] reactor at Hinkley Point in Somerset, with a commitment for future EPR sites in the UK. Rolls-Royce will build a dedicated factory in Rotherham and the deal will underpin more than 1,200 jobs in the company and its supply chain.
Meanwhile, France’s EDF will conclude a £100m agreement with Keir/BAM Nuttall for preliminary works at Hinkley Point – the first major construction project to be awarded in the £10bn project. EDF will invest in a £15m training campus in nearby Bridgwater.
10.02am: A Citroen pulls up outside the Elysee Palace. The BBC identifies the man in the dark winter coat who steps out of the car first as David Cameron and then as Nicolas Sarkozy. But it isn’t either of them.
10.01am: Cameron is about to arrive at the Elysee Palace. BBC News and Sky News both have their cameras trained on the steps of the palace.
9.56am: My colleague Angelique Chrisafis, the Guardian’s Paris correspondent, will be following events for us from the French capital. You can read her tweets here.
9.48am: Hello, and welcome to today’s Politics blog, with Paul Owen standing in for Andrew Sparrow.
David Cameron is travelling to Paris today to seal an agreement with France to co-operate on civil nuclear energy, which will pave the way for the construction of a new generation of nuclear power plants in Britain.
According to the Press Association, deals worth more than £500m between British and French companies will allow work to start on new facilities, creating more than 1,500 jobs across the country.
Cameron said that this just the beginning and that the investment could eventually be worth £60bn and create 30,000 jobs.
Cameron and Sarkozy are to sign a joint declaration on the nuclear co-operation at the UK-France summit in Paris today.
Also on the agenda for talks between the two men will be the unrest in Syria and concerns over Iran’s possible attempts to build nuclear weapons.
Sarkozy formally announced his candidacy for re-election as French president earlier this week, although he is trailing Socialist challenger Francois Hollande in the polls. The election will be held on 22 April and 6 May.
His relationship with the British prime minister has been up and down of late. They worked together closely in the Libyan war, and the two enjoyed a rock star’s welcome when they visited Benghazi after Muammar Gaddafi had been overthrown.
But Cameron’s interventions in the euro crisis seem to have irritated Sarkozy, who reportedly told the prime minister: “You have lost a good opportunity to shut up … We are sick of you criticising us and telling us what to do.”
For his part, my colleague Patrick Wintour reports, Cameron takes the French president’s abrasive style “in his stride”.
Accompanying Cameron on the trip today are Nick Clegg, foreign secretary William Hague, defence secretary Philip Hammond, and Ed Davey, Chris Huhne’s replacement as energy secretary.
from Paul Owen