France canceled a meeting with the United Kingdom on immigration via the English Channel on Friday – shortly after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called on Twitter for a deal with France to take back the migrants.
A spokeswoman for the Interior Ministry in Paris said on Friday that the scheduled meeting of Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin with his British counterpart Priti Patel on Sunday will not take place.
Johnson had called for a deal
As planned, Darmanin will meet with representatives of the interior ministries from Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium on Sunday to discuss the situation on the English Channel. 27 people died there on Wednesday en route to Great Britain when their boat capsized.
Johnson had previously written in a letter calling for a deal to take back refugees, among other measures. This could be the “biggest single step” to destroying the business model of the criminal smugglers’ cartels. Great Britain can no longer benefit from the corresponding EU regulation on the return of asylum seekers since the implementation of Brexit.
In addition, Johnson’s letter to “Dear Emmanuel” (French President Emmanuel Macron) posted on Twitter called for joint police patrols on French beaches, the use of technology such as sensors and radar, access to French territorial waters, aerial surveillance, and closer cooperation with intelligence .
“You do not communicate via Twitter”
Macron was not too happy. “You cannot communicate about such things between heads of state through tweets and posted messages,” the French head of state said on Friday. He also questioned the seriousness of the British advance, and Macron continued: “I am surprised by the method if it is not serious.”
The real answer lies in “serious cooperation to prevent these movements and dismantle these smuggling networks and prevent these women and men from reaching our country because it will be too late by the time they get there,” Macron continued.
The row over the illegal crossings of the English Channel is not the only point of contention between London and Paris. French fishermen had announced protests in the port of Calais and at the French entrance to the Eurotunnel on Friday. The background to this dispute has been simmering for months over fishing licenses that were not granted off the British Crown Channel Islands in Jersey and Guernsey after Brexit.
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