We may have British guards on French beaches next week, Boris Johnson told Emmanuel Macron | MCU Times

We may have British guards on French beaches next week, Boris Johnson told Emmanuel Macron

French police may be joined by border police after Boris Johnson wrote a letter to Emmanuel Macron on Thursday outlining Britain’s plans – Pascal Rossignol / Reuters

Boris Johnson has written to Emmanuel Macron and formally proposes joint patrols on French beaches as early as next week to stop small boats with migrants heading for Britain.

In a letter clarifying British plans after 27 people drowned in the Channel, Mr Johnson also calls for a new “return agreement” between the two countries.

The agreement will, if Paris agrees, get migrants arriving on British coasts illegally sent back to France, where London in turn receives more child migrants with British family connections.

Downing Street sees the pact as the best long-term solution to the escalating problem boat crossings, as it would undercut smugglers promising a route into Britain.

A senior government source said: “A return deal would be the biggest deterrent to these crimes. If migrants crossing the canal illegally are sent back to France, it totally beats the smuggling gangs.”

Other British proposals include more sensors on French beaches, better airborne surveillance, extra maritime patrols and deeper joint intelligence work.

The letter will be seen as an attempt to push ahead with constructive discussions after days of finger-pointing between British and French politicians following the tragedy in the Channel.

Emmanuel Macron, French President, urging Mr Johnson on Thursday evening “to refrain from exploiting a tragic situation for political purposes”, according to a reading from the Élysée Palace.

Hours earlier, Mr Johnson had called on France to “step up” and do more with Britain to stop small boats, saying “we have had difficulty persuading some of our partners, especially the French, to do things in a way that we think the situation deserves ”.

Discussions are complicated by tensions over other issues, such as the number of British fishing licenses awarded to the French, a stand-off over trade tensions in Northern Ireland caused by Brexit and the recent Australia-UK-US nuclear submarine pact.

French fishermen are set to block the port of Calais and the Channel Tunnel on Friday in the middle of the row of licenses to fish in British waters.

Cabinet ministers are among those in the UK who believe Mr Macron has borrowed in recent political strife to support support at home ahead of his re-election bid next spring – an accusation of politicization that French ministers have also thrown at Downing Street .

Constructive conversations

On Thursday, there were signs that the negotiations were becoming more constructive. Interior Ministry officials travel to France on Friday to discuss broader cooperation between the two countries on canal migrants.

Mr Priti Patel, Minister of the Interior, is expected to attend a meeting of EU immigration ministers on Sunday to discuss measures to tackle the migration crisis facing Europe.

France is concerned about the number of migrants from the Channel entering Belgium, often on the day of their intended passage, and exploiting the EU’s open borders.

Johnson’s letter doubles Mrs Patel’s offer – made last week and repeated on Thursday – to British police, border officials or even troops to patrol French beaches.

There is concern in Whitehall that French officials have not done enough to stop boats seeking asylum in Britain being launched from their shores.

The Prime Minister is proposing that border force officials join the French for such patrols as soon as possible, potentially as early as Monday.

It is expected that they would not be able to carry out arrests but could help monitor potential launch sites and deter smugglers.

It is unclear whether the French will agree to the proposal. Some French politicians said on Thursday that the idea could undermine French sovereignty.

Another option Downing Street is open to is using private security to help with patrols. Home Office sources downplayed the likelihood that British troops would be involved.

Plan to dismantle human trafficking networks

During a visit to Croatia on Thursday, Macron said he would hold Britain accountable and reiterated his call for more help in fighting the smugglers.

“We will ask for extra help from the British because these men and these women do not want to get asylum in France,” despite the fact that there are centers where they could apply in Calais and Dunkirk, he said.

“Basically, we have to develop [relations] with our partners and hold them to account. We need to develop things in a much stronger way, we need to strengthen cooperation – cooperation [with] Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, but also the United Kingdom and those [European] Commission.”

France wanted to work more closely with Britain to settle human trafficking network, the president added.

His prime minister, Jean Castex, also held a crisis meeting with ministers on Thursday to discuss new measures, inviting British, Belgian, Dutch and German immigration ministers to a meeting in Calais on Monday.

The talks will aim to “better combat the networks of smugglers behind these migration flows” and insist that a response on a “European scale” was needed, his office said.

Both sides agree that more needs to be done smash smuggling networks, many of which are based in the UK, according to French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin.

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