Calais meeting on migrants: broken dialogue between France and England

After the death of the 27 migrants who wanted to reach England, the worst tragedy to have occurred in the English Channel, Paris and London seemed to want to overcome their disagreements. Sunday, a meeting scheduled in Calais was to bring together the ministers in charge of immigration from several countries to try to improve their coordination in the face of this dramatic situation.

“This meeting should make it possible to define the ways and means of strengthening police, judicial and humanitarian cooperation” to “better fight against the networks of smugglers”, explained Matignon. “France is a country of transit, we are fighting against these networks of smugglers who use distress, but for this we must improve European cooperation”, had earlier pleaded Emmanuel Macron while traveling in Zagreb.

Seeming on the same wavelength, the British Home Secretary, Priti Patel, for her part called for a “coordinated international effort”, in front of British MPs.

Paris and London even seemed to have started working together. Thursday evening, after a discussion between Priti Patel and Gerald Darmanin, the British Home Office said it had made a “clear offer to France in terms of cooperation and joint patrols to prevent these dangerous trips from taking place. “

Except that a letter sent to Emmanuel Macron by Boris Johnson and broadcast by the British Prime Minister on Twitter has just reshuffled the cards by once again igniting the fuse of discord.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called on France to take back migrants who have arrived illegally in England from the French coast. “I propose that we put in place a bilateral readmission agreement to allow the return of all illegal migrants crossing the Channel,” said the British leader in this letter, referring to similar agreements concluded by the EU with Belarus or Russia. According to him, such a measure “would have an immediate effect and would considerably reduce (or even stop) crossings. “

Johnson’s letter “destitute and displaced”

For Paris, this Boris Johnson proposal is not tenable. “We consider the British Prime Minister’s public letter to be inadmissible and contrary to our discussions among counterparts. Consequently, Priti Patel is no longer invited to the interministerial meeting on Sunday, which is maintained in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and the European Commission format, ”said Place Beauvau.

Johnson’s letter is “indigent in substance and out of place,” government spokesman Gabriel Attal also reacted on Friday on BFMTV. “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 is proposing this relocation agreement, this no. is obviously not what we need to solve this problem. (…) There are enough of double talk and the outsourcing of problems, ”he tackled.

In the meantime, nothing on the spot weakens the determination of the migrants to cross the Channel. As of November 20, 31,500 people had left the coast since the start of the year and 7,800 had been rescued.

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