PARIS (VG) France on Sunday called a crisis meeting to end death journeys across the English Channel. But the British Home Secretary was not welcome.
We cannot accept more people dying.
This is how the French Interior Minister, Gerald Darmanin, opened the international crisis meeting in the northern French city of Calais on Sunday.
There, ministers from several European countries were to draw up a battle plan to stop the life-threatening crossings from France to Britain.
At least 27 people drowned while trying to reach Dover on the British side in a weak rubber boat.
Among them were 17 men, three children and seven women Maryam (24 years old) who wanted to meet her fiancé.
It was the worst shipwreck in the English Channel, but far from the first.
trying every day Desperate people who dream of a better life To travel from France to the UK in crowded boats.
In the wake of Wednesday’s tragedy, relations between the two neighboring countries soured.
An important player in Sunday’s crisis meeting was missing: Britain.
France is so offended by the British that they withdrew their invitation only days ago.
I’m surprised when things aren’t done in a serious way.
President Emmanuel Macron is targeting his British counterpart, Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
The reason is what the French president calls Britain’s “junk” Twitter diplomacy.
Messages posted on Twitter
We do not communicate from one leader to another about these topics with Twitter messages and messages that we publish publicly. We are not a whistleblower. Come on, Macron said during a press conference in Italy on Friday.
The day before, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson posted an open letter on Twitter. Here he has outlined a plan for how France could improve border security on its part.
I asked France to “take back” the migrants
Joint border patrols, maritime surveillance in both directions, increased use of high-tech sensors, as well as closer bilateral security cooperation were among the measures proposed by the British prime minister.
In addition, Johnson wrote that France should “take back” illegal immigrants who come to Britain.
In this way, France can “significantly reduce – if not stop – turnover, and save thousands of lives by breaking the business model of criminal gangs,” the prime minister said.
The letter infuriated the French.
Weak and inappropriate
– French government spokesman, Gabriel Attal, said in an interview with the TV channel, that it is a weak speech in terms of content and completely inappropriate in terms of form BFM Friday.
– He added: We are tired of the British speaking two languages and trying to outsource the problem.
Interior Minister Darmanin called the speech a “disappointment”, according to AFP.
He wrote to his British counterpart, according to the news agency, that “his publication made matters worse.”
– So I have to cancel our meeting in Calais on Sunday.
1 of 2Photo: Christophe Ena / AP
British promise continued cooperation
Thus, ministers from France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and the European Union gathered in Calais to solve the problem in the English Channel – without the British Home Secretary Priti Patel.
Before the meeting, Britain confirmed that there would be people there, even if the Home Secretary did not attend in person.
For her part, Patel promised to continue working towards increasing European cooperation in the next week.
Failure to do so may result in worse scenes in icy waters during the coming winter monthsAccording to the Minister of the Interior BBC.
After the crisis meeting, the French Minister of the Interior confirmed that cooperation with Britain is better than what was indicated by the grave diplomatic mistakes in recent days.
“We want to work with our British friends,” Darmanin said, adding:
It is important that we quickly implement an agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom.
Aid organizations are pessimistic
Human trafficking was high on the agenda in Calais on Sunday. Also involved were Interpol and Frontex – the European Union agency that takes care of the Union’s borders, in which Norway participates through the Schengen cooperation.
The French Interior Minister then announced that Frontex aircraft would be patrolling the border from 1 December.
French aid organizations, however, were skeptical before the meeting.
When the government accuses smugglers, it is a way to hide its responsibilityFrancois Genoc, head of the aid organization Auberge de Migrants, told AFP.
– People will try to cross, anyway, but under more insecure conditions, the co-chair of the aid organization Utopia56, Christel Chateau, told VG by phone earlier this week.
Read more about human tragedies in the English Channel here:
“Organizer. Social media geek. General communicator. Bacon scholar. Proud pop culture trailblazer.”