At its lowest, relations between France and the United Kingdom deteriorated further on Friday, November 26. Less than forty-eight hours after the death of twenty-seven people (including seven women and three children) in the Channel, which should have pushed Paris and London to collaborate urgently to avoid further loss of life, tensions rose. increased.
The coup started from 10 Downing Street, which, the night before, made public on Twitter, even before the Elysee took notice, a letter sent by Boris Johnson to President Emmanuel Macron, proposing an agreement of “Readmission of illegal migrants”. Clear, all illegal immigrants who crossed the Channel would be sent back to France. the “Dear Emmanuel” and other polite expressions did nothing: the Elysee considered the initiative, in substance and in form, as a provocation, and the response of Emmanuel Macron, traveling to Rome on Friday, was scathing.
“What has happened in recent days is too serious on a human level to give in to the easiest. You know, France, for a long time now, has assumed its responsibilities in the area of migration ”, he recalled, before saying to himself “Surprised by the methods” from the head of the British government “When they are not serious”. “We do not communicate from one leader to another on these issues by tweet and by letter that we make public. We are not whistleblowers. Calm down ! “, he let go, exasperated.
Beyond the content of the missive, described as“Inadmissible”, the London maneuver was deemed so inappropriate that the Minister of the Interior, Gerald Darmanin, decided on Friday to exclude Priti Patel, his British counterpart, from a meeting of European migration ministers scheduled for Sunday. “Then we will see with the British how to act effectively if they decide to be serious”, supported Mr. Macron.
Despite the wrath of French President Boris Johnson ” do not regret “ sending his letter, a Downing Street spokesperson said, which he said was written in “A spirit of cooperation and partnership”.
“Two leaders who fight like schoolchildren”
Have Franco-British relations reached a point of no return? “This self-satisfied tone, this way of pointing the finger at France and making the letter public, it’s a very big mistake. Boris Johnson especially wanted to address Conservative MPs and the British general public, after the proliferation of criticisms saying that he had “lost his hand” ” following several domestic policy errors, Judge Peter Ricketts, former security adviser to the Cameron government and former UK ambassador to France. “On the French side, canceling the invitation to Priti Patel to participate in the meeting of European ministers on Sunday is also a mistake. It is important to speak up in such a situation, and this meeting would necessarily have been useful ”, regrets the ex-diplomat, now a member of the House of Lords.
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