Liz Truss will hold meetings with EU leaders on Thursday after a chaotic party conference that left Conservatives divided over her policies.
The prime minister will fly to Prague for the European leaders’ summit on Thursday and is expected to have bilateral meetings with French President Emmanuel Macron, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, and Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala.
She will seek to convince the gathering that the UK has continued to play a leading role in Europe despite Brexit – pointing to the country’s support for Ukraine after the Russian invasion.
“Europe is facing its biggest crisis since the Second World War and we have faced it together with unity and resolve,” she will say.
“We must continue to stand firm – to ensure that Ukraine wins this war, but also to deal with the strategic challenges that it has exposed.”
In her meetings, the PM will discuss reducing Europe’s reliance on Russian energy, joint projects to develop new nuclear and offshore wind capacity, and tackling illegal migration.
The summit also comes after Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney revealed the UK and EU would be holding talks this week to resolve issues around the Northern Ireland Protocol – part of the Brexit deal aimed at preventing a harder border on the island of Ireland, but that led to a border being placed in the Irish Sea.
He told reporters: “Both sides have agreed to engage this week – this is a very welcome change of course that the British government is engaging now seriously.”
But while Ms Truss will be facing issues abroad, there will be more problems waiting for her at home after the tumultuous Conservative gathering in Birmingham this week.
The event saw the new government perform a U-turn on one of its headline policies from Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-budget – cancelling its proposed scrapping of the 45p tax rate for the wealthiest 1% of earners.
It came after markets were thrown into turmoil by the fiscal event, with the pound plummeting, mortgage products being withdrawn, and the Bank of England having to step in to save pension funds.
A row also broke out between different factions in the party – including within her own cabinet – over whether to increase benefits in line with inflation, as promised by former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, or to see them face a real terms cut amid the cost of living crisis.
Follow the Daily podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker
Closing the conference with a keynote speech, Ms Truss vowed to “get Britain through the tempest” and insisted “everyone will benefit” from the result of her economic policies.
But Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said she “must reverse her kamikaze budget”, adding: “The burden of the Tories’ fantasy economics should not fall on working people.”