France responded angrily to Britain’s newest ideas for dealing with the fatal migrant influx between their borders on Friday, as the two nations’ verbal battle escalated over the perilous crossings across the English Channel.
Following the sinking of a boat on Wednesday that killed 27 people, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson wrote a public letter to French President Emmanuel Macron outlining a variety of ideas for how the two nations should cope with the disaster.
French government spokesperson Gabriel Attal called the letter “reprehensible” after it was made public on social media. As a result, he said British Home Secretary Priti Patel would no longer be welcome at a European summit on the issue on Sunday.
Attal stated, “We are sick of double-speak.”
Among Johnson’s suggestions, he requested that France return all unlawful migrants to the United Kingdom.
“Clearly not what we need to handle this problem,” Attal said of the notion.
He said the letter “doesn’t relate at all” to conversations Johnson and Macron had following the incident on Wednesday.
Johnson also proposed that British border agents begin patrols on northern French beaches as soon as next week, something Paris has long opposed. He also suggested combined or reciprocal marine patrols in each other’s territorial seas, as well as human and unmanned aerial monitoring.
Johnson made the ideas in “good faith,” according to British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, who asked the French to reconsider their decision.
He told reporters, “I don’t think there’s anything controversial about asking for close cooperation with our nearest neighbors.” “I made the suggestion in good faith.” That is something I can guarantee our French friends, and I hope they would rethink meeting with us to discuss it.”
The French action represents a significant worsening in ties between the two nations, which have been strained for weeks as a result of the migrant situation in the English Channel.
Officials in the United Kingdom have chastised France for rejecting their offer of British police and border officers to perform joint patrols with French police along the Channel coast. According to French officials, Britain is fueling the situation by making it too simple for migrants to stay in the nation and work once they cross the water.
According to figures provided by Parliament, more than 23,000 persons have already entered the UK on small boats this year, up from 8,500 last year and only 300 in 2018.