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Migrants: Paris' response to Boris Johnson


Prime Minister Jean Castex once again refused the British offer of joint patrols in French waters or on French soil.

Correspondent in London,

We write a lot these days, on both sides of the Channel.

Letters from government to government, with a sensitive subject: immigration.

After the letter to Emmanuel Macron made public by Boris Johnson last week, which strongly irritated the Elysee, it is Jean Castex who has just replied to the British Prime Minister.

By reminding London of its responsibilities.

Read alsoIs the UK "too attractive" for migrants?

Paris had not appreciated the cavalier manner of divulging Johnson's letter on Twitter before Emmanuel Macron could read it and after the two men had just spoken, after the tragic sinking of November 24 in which 27 migrants were found death.

"We do not communicate from one leader to another on these issues by tweets and letters that we make public, we are not whistleblowers"

lamented the French president.

And Paris had canceled the participation of the British Minister of the Interior Priti Patel in the meeting organized on Sunday in Calais with the ministers responsible for Belgian, German and Dutch immigration, as well as the European Commission.

Matignon did not communicate on the letter until Thursday, when it was sent Wednesday evening, so as not to take the Englishman by surprise ...

"Each country must assume its responsibilities"

Above all, Boris Johnson gave the impression of throwing the whole problem on France. In his letter, the French Prime Minister made it clear that

"each country must assume its responsibilities". "The management of the reception of migrants who wish to come to your country is now primarily based on France, which is not normal",

continues Jean Castex. At Matignon, we insist on the fact that it is not a question of launching a cycle of letter-writing games but of “

recalling the facts in an objective manner and proposing ways to move forward”

. However, faced with the political instrumentalisation of the subject by London and the direct or veiled attacks on French inaction in the English Channel, theFrench executive intends to put the dots on the "



Read alsoMigrants: in Calais, chronicles of 20 years that follow and look alike

As for French efforts, Jean Castex recalls that 700 police and gendarmes are deployed every day on the Opal Coast to prevent "

small boats

" from taking to sea. That the rate of crossings prevented has continued to increase, reaching 60% .

And that since the beginning of the year, 41 smuggling networks have been dismantled on the North coast and 1,552 smugglers arrested.

Sources of the executive recall that the British financial participation in this effort is only annexed.

And that France should not be treated as a simple

"police subcontractor"

of London: the problem must be dealt with at the root.

Jean Castex thus recalls in substance that if France has to face this problem on its coasts, it is because the fires of the United Kingdom attract these migrants.

He again calls on London to better control its labor market

"to discourage candidates for illegal work"

and to conduct a more effective return policy for migrants who do not intend to settle in the United Kingdom.

Finally, he urges Boris Johnson to

"open avenues for legal immigration to those who have legitimate reasons for wanting to come to your country


Joint patrols refused

Operationally, Jean Castex once again refuses the British offer of joint patrols in French waters or on French soil.

“We cannot allow British police or military to patrol our shores; our sovereignty is at stake, and I know your government's sensitivity to respect for each other's sovereignty, ”

he wrote. On the other hand, the French Prime Minister calls for a better sharing of information on the networks of smugglers. In private, the French say they receive little information from the British. It is also no to

"the bilateral readmission agreement"

proposed by Johnson, for France to take back migrants who arrived illegally in England from the French coast.

On the other hand, Paris wants broader discussions in order to set a

new framework aimed at strengthening migration cooperation between the European Union and the United Kingdom ”.

Read alsoMigrants: Yannick Jadot goes to the front against the government

We do not yet know what will be Boris Johnson's response to the letter from the French executive. Jean Castex concludes by hoping

"that the two countries will be able to find again in the coming weeks this way of a more serene dialogue"

. But relations between the two countries have rarely been so degraded. And the English press resumed Thursday the information of the

Canard Enchaîné

according to which Emmanuel Macron had privately treated Boris Johnson of a


agitated in the



, after the episode of the letter last week. And that BoJo had told him to act in this way for his public opinion. A member of the Johnson government said on Thursday that type of talk

"was not helping"

, putting them on the account of the French electoral period.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2021-12-02

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