Wednesday, December 8, 2021

France cancels meeting with Britain after Boris Johnson’s letter

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In protest against Britain’s public demands, France has canceled an important meeting between Home Secretary Priti Patel and her French counterpart on the refugee crisis.

The French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin has canceled his Sunday meeting with Ms. Patel. His ministry said she was “no longer” invited to meet with European counterparts.

The ministry described Boris Johnson’s public letter to French President Emmanuel Macron, in which he called for joint patrols to prevent more boats from leaving French beaches, as “unacceptable”.

The Ministerial Declaration reads: “We consider the British Prime Minister’s public letter to be unacceptable and contradict our discussions between our counterparts.”

It added: “This is why Priti Patel will no longer be invited to the inter-ministerial meeting on Sunday, the format of which will be: France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and the European Commission.”

The decision underscored the poor relations between the two countries and ongoing disagreements over working together to stop unsafe boat crossings after 27 people drowned while attempting to reach the UK coast on Wednesday.

Seventeen men, seven women and three teenagers died when their rubber dinghy deflated in the canal, one of many of those risky journeys made in small, overloaded boats by people facing poverty and war in Afghanistan, Iraq and beyond escape.

French fishermen are preparing to block the Channel Tunnel and key ports on Friday to protest post-Brexit fishing rights.

The national fishermen’s committee announced that it would hold protests against the tunnel and the canal ports of Calais, Saint-Malo and Ouistreham.

A statement said the action, which will take place over a few hours today, is “symbolic and non-violent,” but any protests could have a major impact on cross-channel trade.

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