Number 10 downplays dispute over migrants after Macron lamented British “provocation” | France


Downing Street has sought to play down disagreements with France over the arrival of migrants in small boats across the Channel after Emmanuel Macron said the British government tended to “vacillate between partnership and provocation”.

The French president’s comments came as Priti Patel, the British Home Secretary, said the “real problem” for migration to the UK was the European Union’s Schengen system of open borders.

Speaking to newspaper La Voix du Nord, based in northern France, Macron said those gathered on the northern coast of France in the hope of making the perilous crossing were “a very difficult situation for the people of Calais. “.

“I will propose reforms under the French presidency of the EU from January 1,” he said. “We have the British, who hesitate between partnership and provocation. We still need to strengthen collaboration.

” If these [migrants] who want to join Britain have family there, this should be considered family reunification. If they are trafficked, we have to break this system.

Asked about Macron’s comments, Boris Johnson’s spokesperson said: “We continue to work extremely closely with the French to prevent these crossings. We have made it clear that we need to do more, both ourselves and the French, which is why we continue to work with them.

“We are facing a global migration crisis, choreographed by organized crime groups that put people on boats to make these dangerous crossings. This is a pressing and urgent problem for all of Europe, requiring incredibly close collaboration. It’s a shared problem, so we need shared solutions.

Macron said he spoke to the mayor of Calais on Wednesday to “help the city regain control of its future” and promised “new solutions” which he said would be announced by various ministers in the coming weeks.

The president said he understood the fears of associations and human rights defenders who supported migrants, but added that there had been “massive investments” in building reception centers for those who wanted to ask. asylum in France.

According to the maritime prefecture, 15,400 migrants attempted to cross the Channel between January 1 and August 31, of which 3,500 were recovered after encountering difficulties at sea and brought back to France.

Patel, who is visiting the United States, where she was accompanied by sympathetic British newspaper reporters, commented on the EU borders in Washington.

“Let us not forget that the real problem with illegal migratory flows is that the EU has no border protection – Schengen opens the borders,” she said.

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