Macron tells UK to 'get serious' over English Channel migrant issue

WION Web Team
New Delhi Updated: Nov 26, 2021, 08:49 PM(IST)

File photo of French President Emmanuel Macron. UK and France are currently sparring over migrant crisis in the English Channel Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

The migrant row has erupted between th UK and France after the death of 27 migrants trying to cross the English Channel

France President Emmanuel Macron told Britain to 'get serious' about the migrant issue or be ready to remain out of the talks over curbing flow of migrants escaping war and poverty across the Channel.

France has cancelled invitation to UK Home Secretary Priti Patel to attend meeting on the issue in Calais. This has underlined how fraught ties between France and Britain have become. The two countries are already sparring over post-Brexit trading rules and fishing rights.

Boris Johnson's spokesman said the British prime minister was taking the issue "extremely seriously" and said he hoped France would reconsider its decision to cancel Patel's invite.

The row has erupted after the death of 27 migrants trying to cross the narrow seaway between the two countries, the worst tragedy on record in one of the world's busiest shipping lanes.

Also Read | France, Britain agree to step up efforts to limit channel crossings

"I'm surprised when things are not done seriously. We don't communicate between leaders via tweets or published letters, we are not whistle-blowers. Come on. Come on," Macron told a news conference in Rome.

Macron was responding to a letter from Johnson in which the British leader told "Dear Emmanuel" what he reckoned should be done to stop migrants from making the perilous journey.

Johnson urged France in his letter to agree on joint patrols on its shores and consent to taking back the migrants who make it to Britain.

Infuriated by the letter, and not least by the fact that Johnson published it on Twitter, the French government cancelled an invitation to Patel to attend a meeting on Sunday to discuss with EU ministers how to tackle immigration.

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