France 'cannot keep' migrants says Mireille Clapot
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The UK and France have been pinning the blame on each other over how to stop migrants from trying to cross the dangerous stretch of water after 27 people died making the attempt in an inflatable dinghy on Wednesday. In a phone call with Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday night, French President Emmanuel Macron emphasised the shared responsibility of the two respective Governments. But Mr Johnson claimed Britain had been faced with difficulties persuading the French to tackle the problem in the correct way.
Now Mr Barnier, the EU’s former chief Brexit negotiator who is challenging Mr Macron for the French presidency in 2022, has waded into the argument.
He told French television broadcaster TF1LeJT he agreed with comments from the mayor of Calais the latest tragedy was “foreseeable”, admitting the French borders “don't work” and suggesting a “change European policies and have real borders”.
But the veteran politician also called on the UK to “receive these migrants”.
Mr Barnier said: "This tragedy was foreseeable, as the mayor of Calais had said.
Michel Barnier has called on the UK to receive migrants crossing the Channel (Image: GETTY)
The French presidential candidate said the latest tragedy was ‘foreseeable’ (Image: GETTY)
“Our borders don't work and that's why I ask for the moratorium to change European policies and have real borders, as well as asking the UK to receive these migrants.”
French Prime Minister Jean Castex is due to hold crisis talks with his ministers on Thursday as he desperately tries to get to the bottom of the problem.
UK Home Secretary is also due to hold talks with her French counterpart Gerald Darmanin, who said Britain, Belgium and Germany needed to do more to help France tackle the illegal migrants and human trafficking.
He told RTL radio in France: “It’s an international problem.”
A record number of migrants have attempted to make the English Channel cross (Image: GETTY)
But a new explosive row has broken out between the UK and France over who is to blame for the escalating crisis.
Mr Johnson held a meeting of the Cobra emergencies committee on Wednesday night, and claimed despite £54million of UK support, French operations to stop the migrant boats leaving “haven’t been enough”.
The Prime Minister added the people traffickers were “literally getting away with murder”.
He said: “We have had difficulty persuading some of our partners, particularly the French, to do things in a way that we think the situation deserves.”
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Boris Johnson claimed French operations to stop the migrant boats leaving ‘haven;t been enough’ (Image: GETTY)
Emmanuel Macron emphasised the shared responsibilities of the French and UK Governments (Image: GETTY)
But Mr Darmanin has accused London of “bad immigration management”.
Mayor of Callais Natacha Bouchart blamed the British and told Mr Johnson to “face up to his responsibilities”.
She said, according to French media reports: “The British Government is to blame.
“I believe that Boris Johnson has, for the past year and a half, cynically chosen to blame France.”
Several other people are also reported to have reached Britain in small boats on Wednesday.
The Dover Strait is particularly dangerous as it is the busiest shipping lane in the world, claiming many lives of people trying to cross to Britain in inflatable dinghies.
Already this year, more than 25,700 people have made the dangerous journey to the UK in small boats – triple the amount for the whole of 2020, according to data compiled by the PA news agency.
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega.
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