Canal tragedy: why do so many migrants cross in small boats?
Emmanuel Macron has claimed that a public letter sent by Boris Johnson after 27 people were killed trying to reach British shores was not a “serious” way of dealing with the Channel crossing crisis, as France responded canceled an emergency meeting with Priti Patel.
Labor described the tone of the letter with proposals to prevent future border crossings – and the decision to make it public – “clearly a huge mistake”, after French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin replied that Ms Patel was “no longer invited.” for Sunday’s summit with European ministers.
Johnson had urged the French president to allow joint patrols on French beaches and increased aerial surveillance, while Downing Street rejected campaigners’ pleas for safer, legal routes for people to seek asylum, fueling allegations that ministers in in fact “being complicit in the people-smugglers”.
Macron says Boris Johnson is not acting ‘seriously’
Emmanuel Macron has weighed in on the letter sent by Boris Johnson yesterday, in which he describes the prime minister’s apparent attempt at diplomacy as not a “serious” way of doing business.
“I’m surprised when things aren’t done seriously, we don’t communicate between leaders through tweets or published letters, we’re not whistleblowers,” he said at a joint conference with Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi.
Andy GregoryNov 26, 2021 10:21
Tory MP accuses France of ‘stimulating’ after canceled meeting
Tim Loughton, the Tory MP for East Worthing and Shoreham who sits on the House of Commons’ Home Affairs Committee, has accused France of “stimulating”.
“The French need to get real and recognize that there are consequences if you turn a blind eye instead of stopping the migrant boats at the source and those consequences are tragedies like the one from two days ago,” he tweeted.
“Collaboration is the only way to find a solution, not incentives.”
Andy GregoryNov 26, 2021 09:54
‘Turn the volume down’ with France, former Whitehall ambassador urges
A former British ambassador has urged the government to focus on developing its relationship with France directly, rather than with the “media digest” in mind, suggesting Boris Johnson’s letter to Emmanuel Macron was written.” for the Daily mail and shared … with France”.
Tom Fletcher, formerly the ambassador to Beirut, urged officials in Whitehall to “show a common goal, turn the volume down, build confidence, use phones, don’t start the day with media digest” and “collaborating with great British/French diplomats on practical ideas”.
Andy GregoryNov 26, 2021 09:51
French fishermen prepare to block Channel Tunnel in Brexit protest
Now back to northern France, where French fishermen are preparing to blockade the Channel Tunnel and major ports today in protest against post-Brexit fishing rights.
The blockades are expected to hit Saint-Malo on Friday morning before moving on to Calais, the tunnel and finally Ouistreham.
In a statement, the national fishing committee said the action, set to take place in a few hours, was intended to be “symbolic and non-violent” – but any protests could have a major impact on trade across the canal and Downing Street urged. at Downing Street to the French authorities to avoid disruption.
The commission described the protests as a “warning shot” that could lead to further action if the fishermen’s demands are not met.
A spokesman for No. 10 said: “We are disappointed with the threats of protest activity. It is, of course, a matter for the French to ensure that no illegal actions take place and that trade is not affected, but we will continue to monitor the situation closely.”
Andy GregoryNov 26, 2021 09:38
New Covid variant ‘could beat the vaccine’, minister warns
In addition to the further rift in relations with France over the channel crossings, Boris Johnson faces the prospect of another serious development in the pandemic.
After South Africa and five other countries were put on the red travel list, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told the BBC this morning: “We can’t take any chances if we see a variant that could beat the vaccine – or at least that is the concern.” — and we just need some time to figure that out.”
Ministers had acted swiftly to make travel changes after an emergency meeting with chief medical officials on Thursday, Mr Shapps said, adding that there were “concerns” about the “very rapid” spread of the variant, with about 60 cases confirmed in South Africa, Botswana, Hong Kong and Israel.
“The travel ban will slow it down,” said Oxford University professor James Naismith. “It will come here, but it will give us a few more weeks.”
Andy GregoryNov 26, 2021 09:32
Here are more details from the Prime Minister’s letter to Emmanuel Macron:
- Joint patrols would prevent more boats from leaving French beaches, while the UK is “ready to start such patrols from early next week and then scale up”.
- Advanced technology such as sensors and radar could be used to detect people and people smuggling gangs.
- There may be joint or reciprocal maritime patrols in each other’s territorial waters and aerial surveillance by manned flights and drones.
- The work of the Joint Intelligence Cell needs to be enhanced with better real-time intelligence sharing to drive more arrests and prosecutions on both sides of the Channel.
- Work should be started immediately on a bilateral return agreement with France so that people can be sent back across the Channel, in addition to talks to establish a return agreement between the UK and the EU.
“In particular, I welcome the fact that the Minister of the Interior will be invited to Calais this Sunday to meet her colleagues from France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany,” Mr Johnson had written.
“I stand ready to upgrade this meeting to a leadership-level summit or to arrange further bilateral discussions with you or colleagues.”
Andy GregoryNov 26, 2021 09:11
French anger ‘understandable’, but Paris ‘wrong’ to cancel meeting, says former ambassador
French anger at Boris Johnson’s letter to Emmanuel Macron is “understandable” – but Paris was “wrong” in withdrawing Priti Patel’s invitation to an emergency summit in Calais, a former British ambassador to France has suggested.
Lord Ricketts, who held the post until January 2016, argued Sunday’s meeting “will be less useful without the British”.
In addition to his comment, he shared this analysis of the economistParis bureau chief, who suggested that “if you were to try to write a letter meant to annoy France, this would be it”.
Andy GregoryNovember 26, 2021 09:01
Letter ‘in no way designed to be combative,’ 10 officials reportedly say
Here’s more on the sentiment regarding Boris Johnson’s letter from Downing Street last night, via Sky News’ political editor:
Andy GregoryNov 26, 2021 08:53
Prime Minister’s proposals to France ‘made in good faith’, minister says
Boris Johnson’s proposals to French President Emmanuel Macron to stop the Channel crossing have been made in good faith, a minister said.
“I think it is very important that we work hand in hand with the French. I don’t think there’s anything incendiary about asking for close cooperation with our closest neighbours,” Grant Shapps told BBC Radio 4’s. Today program.
“The proposal is made in good faith. I can assure our French friends that and I hope they will consider meeting to discuss it.”
Andy GregoryNovember 26, 2021 08:45
People stranded in France don’t know where to go because they make plans to cross the Channel
People determined to make the crossing to the UK say they don’t know where to turn, with the options available “difficult” or “dangerous”, my colleague Zoe Tidman messages from Calais.
People there who hoped to reach England one day said: the independent that those going by truck are often stopped by the police, but the journey across the Channel by boat feels dangerous – especially in cold weather.
However, they kept waiting for their turn to make the crossing the day after 27 people died when their inflatable dinghy sank. “I have nowhere else to go,” said one man who fled Sudan years ago.
You can read her full report here:
Andy GregoryNov 26, 2021 08:42