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France’s Macron urges Britain to be ‘serious’ about channel immigration crisis




Britain wants joint patrols and urges France to bring migrants back Macron says Johnson’s letter is not serious said

PARIS/LONDON, November 26 (Reuters) – French President Emmanuel Macron told Britain “it should be serious” on Friday.

France has canceled British Interior Minister Pretty Patel’s invitation to attend the Calais meeting, underscoring the dangers of its relationship with the UK in the face of post-Brexit trade rules and fishing rights at stake.

A spokeswoman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the British Prime Minister was “taking the matter extremely seriously” and “I hope France reconsider its decision to cancel Patel’s invitation.”

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The procession began after 27 migrants were killed while trying to cross the narrow sea route between the two countries. read more

“I’m surprised when things aren’t being taken seriously,” Macron said at a press conference in Rome. “We don’t communicate between leaders via tweets or public correspondence, we’re not whistleblowers. Come on.”

Macron was responding to a letter from Johnson in which the British Prime Minister told “Emanuel” what to do to prevent migrants from taking dangerous trips.

In a letter, Prime Minister Johnson urged France to agree to a joint coastal patrol and to bring migrants back to Britain. read more

The French government, outraged by the letter, especially over the fact that Johnson had posted the post on Twitter, canceled Patel’s invitation to attend a meeting on Sunday to discuss immigration issues with EU ministers.

‘Partnership spirit’

A spokeswoman for Johnson said he had no regrets about the Prime Minister’s letter to President Macron or what he tweeted. He added that he wrote it “in the spirit of partnership and cooperation” and put it online to inform the public of what the government is doing.

People light candles at Richelieu Park in Dunkirk, France, on November 25, 2021, as they pay tribute to the 27 migrants who died when their ship bled while trying to cross the English Channel. REUTERS/Johanna Geron

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Relations between traditional allies, including the recent replacement of Australia’s submarine deal with France, are already strained, and they are already accusing each other of failing to manage immigration.

French government spokesman Gabriel Attal said: “We are tired of (London’s) double conversations.

Sunday’s migration meeting will take place without Patel in the presence of German, Dutch, Belgian and European Commission officials.

“(EU) ministers will work seriously to solve serious problems with serious people,” Macron said. “If Britain decides to be serious then we will see how to move forward efficiently with Britain.”

When the UK left the EU, the UK could no longer use the bloc’s system to return migrants to the Member States where they first entered.

UNHCR spokesman William Saltmarsh urged France and Britain to work together.

“Cooperation between the two countries as well as cooperation between the UK and Europe is very important,” he said. “It’s important that there is a concerted effort to break the smuggler’s ring. The smugglers have adapted very well in recent months.”

According to the BBC, citing government data, the number of migrants crossing the strait surged from 8,461 in 2020 and 1,835 in 2019 to 25,776 as of 2021, according to the BBC.

Human rights groups say it’s important to fight smugglers, but migration policies in France and the UK also point to the lack of legal migration routes and blame the deaths.

“You could say that the consequences of what happened yesterday were the smugglers, but above all, it is the responsibility of the deadly immigration policy. We see this every day,” said Marwa Mezdour, who runs an immigrant association in Calais. A vigil to commemorate those who drowned.

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Benoit Van Overstraeten, Sudip Kar-Gupta, Richard Lough, Ingrid Melander of Paris, Kylie MacLellan of London, Ardee Napolitano of Calais, Stephanie Nebehay of Geneva; Written by Ingrid Melander; Edited by Philippa Fletcher and Gareth Jones

Our Standard: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principle.




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