UK presses for French 'cooperation' on Channel crisis

UK presses for French 'cooperation' on Channel crisis
2 min read
28 November, 2021
This comes despite France's snubbing of the UK as their ministers alongside ministers from Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium will meet in the northern French port of Calais on Sunday afternoon.
"We all need to be doing what we can to break the business model of these people-smugglers," Health Secretary Sajid Javid said [Getty]

Britain's government on Sunday pressed anew for joint action from France to stop cross-Channel people-smugglers, brushing off anger in Paris that saw it excluded from European talks on the crisis.

Ministers from France, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium will meet in the northern French port of Calais on Sunday afternoon, following the tragic deaths of 27 people last Wednesday as they attempted to cross from France to England in a fragile dinghy.

France barred Britain from the meeting after Prime Minister Boris Johnson published the text of a letter to French President Emmanuel Macron setting out London's demands for concerted action.

Those include sending illegal migrants back to France, and joint police patrols on the northern French coast.

"Those are exactly the kinds of things we need to do," Health Secretary Sajid Javid told Sky News.

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Asked if it was wrong of Johnson to divulge the letter on Twitter, he insisted: "No, it wasn't.

"We all need to be doing what we can to break the business model of these people-smugglers. That does mean working closely with our friends, France," Javid said.

"Our policy is very clear: these boats must stop. We can't just do it on our own. We do need the cooperation of the French."

But ahead of the Calais meeting, Britain and France faced mounting criticism for bickering instead of working together.

"Both countries are engaged in a blame game while children drown in our Channel," Lisa Nandy, the foreign affairs spokeswoman of Britain's opposition Labour party, told Sky News.

"It's simply unconscionable," she said.