The already fractious relationship between France and Britain spiralled additional downward into anger and incomprehension Friday, with the 2 erstwhile European companions at loggerheads about the right way to cease migrants from embarking on harmful crossings of the English Channel that killed a minimum of 27 individuals in a sinking this week.
Even because the British authorities insisted that the 2 international locations “remain close friends and partners,” their phrases, acts and disputes over migration, fishing and the right way to rebuild a working relationship in the wake of Britain’s exit from the EU more and more urged in any other case.
President Emmanuel Macron scolded Prime Minister Boris Johnson for making public a letter that the British chief despatched to the French chief on Thursday. Most notably, Johnson proposed that France take again migrants who illegally cross the Channel from French to British shores. Macron’s spokesman rapidly and summarily dismissed the thought, and the French president made his displeasure clear that Johnson posted the letter — addressed “Dear Emmanuel” — on Twitter.
“I am surprised by methods when they are not serious,” Macron mentioned on a go to to Italy. “You don’t communicate from a leader to another on these matters via tweets and letters that are made public. We are not whistleblowers.”
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“Come on, come on,” Macron added.
The letter and France’s response had been the most recent crossing of swords between two nations with a storied historical past of break-ups, make-ups and, not occasionally, of revelling in rubbing every up in the improper method. The financial, political, social and psychological earthquake of Britain’s divorce from the EU has made cross-Channel cooperation more durable nonetheless, and additional difficult the lengthy love-hate relationship between Paris and London.
Even in the wake of the deadliest migration accident up to now in the Channel, Macron and Johnson appeared more and more to be speaking previous one another — or, in Paris’ case, barely prepared to speak in any respect. Macron’s authorities spokesman, Gabriel Attal, mentioned Johnson’s point-person on immigration, Home Secretary Priti Patel, was not welcome at a gathering Sunday of European ministers who’ll discover methods to crack down on migrant-smuggling networks.
Attal described Johnson’s letter as “fundamentally mediocre and totally uncalled-for in its manner.” Suggesting British duplicity, Attal additionally mentioned it “doesn’t correspond at all” with discussions that Johnson and Macron had Wednesday after the sinking of an inflatable craft laden with migrants off the northern French coast.
“We are sick of double-speak,” Attal mentioned.
And he dismissed Johnson’s proposal that France take again migrants who cross illegally to British shores as “clearly not what we need to solve this problem.”
Ever-increasing numbers of individuals fleeing battle or poverty in Afghanistan, Sudan, Iraq, Eritrea or elsewhere are risking the perilous journey from France, hoping to win asylum or discover higher alternatives in Britain. More than 23,000 individuals have already entered the U.Ok. on largely unseaworthy small boats this yr, up from 8,500 in 2020 and simply 300 in 2018, in keeping with information compiled by the British Parliament.
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In London, Johnson’s spokesman Jamie Davies mentioned the prime minister had no regrets about tweeting the letter “written in the spirit of partnership and cooperation.”
He expressed hope for a French U-turn on the choice to un-invite Patel to Sunday’s ministerial assembly on the migration crisis, saying: “Friends and neighbors need to work together to address this global challenge collectively, and we have been clear that we need to do more.”
A French judicial investigation into Wednesday’s sinking has been turned over to Paris-based prosecutors who specialize in complicated instances of organized crime. The prosecutors’ workplace mentioned it would not touch upon whether or not investigators are making progress on figuring out victims’ nationalities or causes of the tragedy.
A French fisherman who mentioned he was first to identify and lift the alarm about our bodies in the water on Friday described the scene as “a horror movie.” Karl Maquinghen mentioned he’s haunted by the thought that folks would possibly nonetheless be alive had he and his shipmates reached them sooner.
“To see so many bodies like that, next to us. Children. I don’t know how to explain it. Horrific,” Maquinghen mentioned, voice cracking with emotion, in feedback broadcast by French coastal radio Delta FM.
“The sight of them like that, heads in the water, will stick with us,” he mentioned. “We tell ourselves: ’Had we got there five or ten minutes earlier, we could perhaps have saved them.’ We can’t sleep.”
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While the sinking has introduced long-simmering French-British tensions to a head, it isn’t their solely concern of discord.
Adding to the local weather of rigidity: French fishing crews on Friday briefly blocked French ports, ferry visitors throughout the English Channel and the freight entrance to the undersea Eurotunnel. The goal of the protest over post-Brexit fishing licenses was to disrupt flows of Britain-bound items and vacationers and sign that better disturbance might observe amid the Christmas buying rush.
“The British have access to the European market, while we do not have access to British waters. This is not normal, the British government must respect the agreement,” Olivier Lepretre, president of the regional fishing committee, mentioned in the port of Calais.
He described the blockades as “a warning shot.”
Calais — a significant jump-off level for migrants aiming to succeed in Britain — can be the place ministers from France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and EU officers will meet on Sunday.
Without the British minister.
“The ministers will work seriously to resolve a serious matter with people who are serious,” Macron mentioned. “Afterwards, we will see with the British how to act effectively, if they decide to be serious.”
Credits : foxnews