Migrant crisis: France 'ridiculous' for cancelling meeting says MP
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The two may not share a physical land border but the UK and France regularly find their own interests entangled with one another. Whether it’s in relation to the Aukus defence pact or post-Brexit fishing license disputes, the UK and France have butted heads on more than one occasion recently, and the same can be said for their leaders.
Last week the UK Prime Minister called on France to take back people who cross the Channel to the UK.
In a written letter to the French President – which was also shared on Twitter – Mr Johnson set out five steps to move “further and faster” to avoid a repeat of the tragic circumstances that led to 27 people drowning in an attempted crossing, last month.
These included the implementation of joint patrols, better use of technology such as sensors and radar, maritime patrols in each other’s waters and stronger cooperation by intelligence services
One day later, Mr Macron issued an angry response to the PM accusing him of not being serious, after making the request via social media.
Speaking at a press conference Mr Macron said: “I spoke two days ago with Prime Minister Johnson in a serious way.
“For my part I continue to do that, as I do with all countries and all leaders. I am surprised by methods when they are not serious.
“We do not communicate from one leader to another on these issues by tweets and letters that we make public. We are not whistle-blowers.”
The diplomatic row initially emerged after France withdrew a summit invitation to the UK Home Secretary, Priti Patel – something which the UK urged France to reconsider.
The request was not rescinded though, and the meeting went ahead without the UK’s presence last Sunday.
However, despite the apparent severity of the dispute, this is not the first time that Mr Johnson and Mr Macron have clashed during their respective terms in office.
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Since officially exiting the EU on December 31 last year, the UK and France have been embroiled in a series of disagreements over fishing licences offered to French fishermen.
France alleges that the UK has failed to issue enough licences to French vessels who wish to operate in coastal waters off the UK and Jersey.
In retaliation the French have recently threatened to hold up UK exports at their ports, something which Mr Johnson has described as “completely unjustified”.
During the EU referendum campaign, Mr Johnson made several promises to the UK fishing industry to take back “full control of our waters” and could face backlash were he to relent to France on the issue.
In September, Mr Macron was reportedly furious after the announcement of the Aukus defence pact.
Aukus is the deal that was agreed between Australia, UK and US which consequently led to Australia ripping up a multi-billion dollar deal that the country already held with France to build conventional submarines.
At the time Mr Macron felt that the trio had gone behind France’s back to strike the agreement and led to increased tensions for several weeks afterwards.
Later that month Mr Johnson held a call with his French counterpart in a bid to ease anxieties and re-establish cooperation between the two nations.
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