Migration crisis: this letter from Boris Johnson which sets fire to relations with France

The drama is still fresh. Twenty-seven people wishing to reach the United Kingdom via France perished in the Channel on Wednesday, including seven women and several minors. The tragedy did not have the commemoration or the meditation that these kinds of human tolls usually inspire in society. The migration crisis knows its share of daily misfortune. Since the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union, a popular destination for these illegal expatriates, tensions on this subject have only increased with the rest of the continent, in particular France, where the majority leave. attempts to cross to the island.

So the catastrophe now turns to political confrontation. Better collaboration is expected between Paris and London, notably underlined the English-speaking press on Thursday, part of which accused the French authorities of letting the boats leave, like that of Wednesday, towards death.

The leaders are also trying to imagine solutions to this crisis. With more or less finesse. “I propose that we put in place a bilateral readmission agreement to allow the return of all illegal migrants crossing the Channel,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson wrote Thursday evening in a letter posted on Twitter to the attention of by Emmanuel Macron. A proposal that does not pass: Friday morning, the French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin canceled the visit of his British counterpart Priti Patel to the meeting on Sunday on the migrant file in Calais. The French minister will still meet his colleagues from the European Union and the Commission.

“No nation can tackle this alone. I hope the French will reconsider (their decision),” UK Transport Minister Grant Shapps lamented on the BBC.

Chain reaction. This Friday morning, government spokesman Gabriel Attal also strongly criticized Boris Johnson’s maneuver. “It is a letter that is fundamentally indigent because it does not respect all the work that is done by our coast guards, our police officers, our gendarmes, our rescuers at sea,” he replied on BFMTV and RMC stressing that 7,800 migrants had been rescued from drowning in the Channel since the start of the year.

In addition, this letter “proposes this agreement of ‘relocation”, this is obviously not what we need to solve this problem (…) What we would need is that the British send us officers of protection to examine asylum requests that concern them from French territory, “he lamented.

Emmanuel Macron in person has little tasted the public letter of his counterpart. The President of the Republic also made it known this Friday, during a press conference, by denouncing “not serious” methods. On the form, first. “I am surprised by the methods when they are not serious, we do not communicate from one leader to another on these issues by tweets, by letters that we make public, we are not whistleblowers . ”

Then, on the merits. “If this question [de l’immigration illégale] was simple, then it would have been settled otherwise. It is not. France is today – for these women and men who leave misery or distress in their country – a place of transit. They don’t want to stay in France, they want to cross at all costs. The real answer is in a serious cooperation to prevent these movements, to dismantle these networks of traffickers (…) it is already too late when they are there! “. And to conclude.” We will see with the British how to act effectively s ‘they decide to be serious. ”

Meanwhile, another day passes on the banks of the Pas-de-Calais, with its flood of crossings. Karl Maquinghen, the fisherman who raised the alert on Wednesday and found the bodies, compared the scene to a “horror movie”. Very shocked, his voice hoarse with emotion, this bearded man in a blue jumpsuit now only aspires to one thing: “to hug his children” in his arms.


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