an international meeting without the British, excluded by France

London and Paris had so far tried to silence their disagreements on the migration issue after the shipwreck which claimed the lives of twenty-seven migrants in the Channel. But the tension rose a notch, Friday November 26, following the publication of a letter from Boris Johnson addressed to Emmanuel Macron, in which the British Prime Minister asks France to take back the immigrants arriving in the United Kingdom. United.

In response, the Minister of the Interior, Gerald Darmanin, canceled the invitation of his British counterpart, Priti Patel, to Sunday’s meeting devoted to migrants. “As a result, I have to cancel our Sunday meeting in Calais, I’m sure you understand why”, concluded Mr. Darmanin.

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This will take place, without the British but with the ministers responsible for Belgian, German and Dutch immigration, as well as the European Commission. In a message to Mme Patel, of which Agence France-Presse was aware, Mr. Darmanin believes that while Mr. Johnson’s letter to Mr. Macron sparked ” disappointment “, the fact of having made this letter public is “Worse” Again.

Visiting Rome, Emmanuel Macron also criticized the British Prime Minister for his methods “Not serious”. “We do not communicate from one leader to another on these issues by tweets and letters that we make public. We are not whistleblowers ”, he told reporters.

A “needy” letter

The British Prime Minister indeed published the letter in question on Twitter Thursday evening. “I propose that we set up a bilateral readmission agreement to allow the return of all illegal migrants crossing the Channel”, he writes.

Recalling that “The European Union has concluded readmission agreements with countries such as Belarus and the Russian Federation”, Mr Johnson said “Hope that such an agreement can also be concluded with the United Kingdom quickly”. “This measure would have an immediate effect and would considerably reduce or even stop crossings, saving lives by fundamentally breaking the business model of criminal gangs ”, he argued.

This letter is “Indigent in substance and totally out of place”, criticized government spokesman Gabriel Attal on Friday morning, on BFM-TV. “Indigent on the bottom because it does not respect all the work that is done by our coast guards, our police officers, our gendarmes, our rescuers at sea (…). Basically, it proposes this agreement of relocation, this is obviously not what we need to solve this problem. (…) There are enough of double talk and the outsourcing of problems ”Mr. Attal said.

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Despite these very strong words, London asked Paris to reinstate the invitation to Patel at the meeting scheduled for Sunday. “No nation can tackle this problem alone. I hope the French will reconsider their decision. It’s in our best interest. It is in their interest ”UK Transport Minister Grant Shapps said on the BBC.

Same story with Boris Johnson. If, through the voice of his spokesperson, fully assumed his letter to Emmanuel Macron, he also underlined the need to“Deepen” bilateral cooperation in the fight against illegal immigration. The meeting is “Maintained” corn “Without the British”, however, confirmed the interior ministry to AFP.

General hardening of relationships

The death Wednesday off Calais of at least twenty-seven migrants who were trying to reach the English coast in the sinking of their boat has rekindled tensions between Paris and London. This tragedy is the deadliest since the increase in 2018 in crossings of the Channel by migrants, attempts to bypass the reinforced lockdown of the port of Calais and the rail tunnel.

In the aftermath of this unprecedented drama in the Channel, Boris Johnson, who made the fight against immigration his hobbyhorse in the wake of Brexit, spoke of France’s responsibility, suggesting that his action was not not “At the height of the situation”. Emmanuel Macron retorted that he was waiting for the British “That they cooperate fully and refrain from instrumentalizing a dramatic situation for political ends”.

Read the story: Article reserved for our subscribers After the death of 27 migrants in a shipwreck off Calais, the anger of associations

The issue of crossings, which regularly stirs up bilateral tensions, is a delicate one for the British Conservative government, which has made the fight against immigration its hobbyhorse in the wake of Brexit. As of November 20, 31,500 migrants had left the coast since the start of the year and 7,800 had been rescued. Before Wednesday’s sinking, the human toll since January had risen to three dead and four missing.

These tensions linked to migratory flows add to the general hardening of relations between France and the United Kingdom since Brexit. The two countries are arguing in particular over fishing rights in British waters, and Paris accuses London of having negotiated in secret with the United States and Australia a strategic partnership agreement which precipitated the cancellation of a mega-contract for the sale of French submarines in Canberra.

The World with AFP


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