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Fingers point across channel as death renews British-French blame game | Immigration and Asylum

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Julian Barnes, novelist and chronicler of Anglo-French relations, who wrote for Le Monde this week, said he easily fell into the role of either the accuser or the victim of an insult, as the two sides often trade decades- or centuries-old stereotypes of each other. .

After 27 people died on the channel, these stereotypes were fully exposed. It was almost impossible to resist the sniper, even if both sides said they would go beyond the blame game or even instrumentalize the crisis in the words of Emmanuel Macrons. The possibility that a neighboring dispute over post-Brexit fishing permits will finally explode with the Calais lockdown this weekend adds to the feeling that this is a relationship on the brink of a nervous breakdown.

Politics is primitive. Emmanuel Macron is struggling for a spot in the April runoff, and we cannot let the refugee crisis run away from him. Boris Johnson is also at a lot of risk. His mysterious donor Nigel Farage preparing a check is once again agitating and intimidating the Conservative right. Johnson’s backventures are struggling to understand how Brexit regained control of the British border when 25,700 people arrived in England in slow but steady inflatable boats.

According to French sources, the British Prime Minister is positive about the strait and has repeatedly mentioned the topic of migrants and refugees in private conversations with Macron. Mr Johnson is 80% dependent on short-term domestic politics, French diplomats said.

Home Secretary Pretty Patel is in deep trouble, accused of chasing headlines rather than real-world solutions. She promised to resolve the crisis by the end of the year in 2020, but failed self-evidently.

Politically, the easiest way for both sides is to point the blame finger across the strait, or act as a victim.

Many military and diplomatic officials are really eager to maintain relationships and are desperately working behind the scenes to do so. For example, they know that defense is a solid glue for French-British relations and are still looking for opportunities to collaborate on defense, including in areas like Mali. But with the investigation of Brexit secretary David Frost and Macron’s presidential attack dog Clement Beaune, the glue is not sticking.

Faced with accusations that the French have been lazy about crossing the strait, looking at the number of deaths in the Mediterranean over the past six years points out that it will take time to see if a tabloid headline-sized solution can subside. If there was an urge to cross the strait, it would have been discovered.

It is estimated that more than 20,000 people have died in the Mediterranean, and it is estimated that more than 1,300 have died this year alone.

But Britain is fighting back, saying France should not become a failed country like Libya and should do more to eradicate smugglers. London has in the past threatened to cut financial aid to French border police if Paris fails to stop the flow of people. The French, in turn, complain that the ID-free UK oversees a labor market where people can easily blend out of sight.

Faced with this labor market, French opposition politicians are questioning the Le Touquet agreement, a bilateral treaty that is not yet a government but allows British border guards to conduct passport checks in France. The French National Human Rights Advisory Committee (FNC) recently said the rule would put France into a police role in UK immigration policy.

It argues that this was justified because before Brexit, the UK was subject to the EU Dublin Convention, making it mandatory for asylum seekers to apply to the country of their first stay in Europe. With Brexit, those obligations will disappear.

France is also enthusiastic about the British moral lecture. In the past year, 83,000 asylum applications were filed in France, compared to 31,000 in the UK. In 2020, the UK registered 5.78 asylum seekers and refugees per 10,000 population, compared to 16.93 in France, 19.52 in Germany and 60.57 in Greece.

But breaking the Le Touquet Agreement unilaterally would bombard relations as it would effectively drive migrants and refugees into the UK.

Macron also knows he needs the rest of Europe. French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian complained that a surprising feature of the recent British map of the world had erased Europe. However, there is a limit to Europe’s readiness posture, which lags behind France’s tendency to equate European national interests with those of France.

Germany, for example, is busy preparing a bilateral agreement with the UK. Foreign Minister Liz Truss is due to visit Spain soon, which is a smart choice for his first visit to an EU country.

As both sides move, neither side dares to cross the brink.

Sources

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2/ https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/nov/25/fingers-pointed-across-the-channel-as-deaths-renew-uk-france-blame-game

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