LONDON – The summit on the migrant emergency in the Channel will be held on Sunday 28 November as planned in France, but Great Britain will not be represented. The French government has in fact revoked the invitation to Priti Patel, the British Minister of the Interior, who has been banned from participating in the meeting that will take place in Calais with the representatives of France, Holland, Belgium, Germany and the European Union.
Johnson’s letter and tweet
The French government reacted with irritation and disdain to a letter that the British Prime Minister sent to President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday evening 25 November, both for the content of the message, considered “inappropriate” and for the form, defined as “unacceptable”. he spread the letter via Twitter even before the recipient received it, perhaps to put pressure on Paris, perhaps to send his supporters a signal of his firmness. In the letter, the British Prime Minister invites France to take an active part and “take back all the migrants who cross the Channel”.
The French answer
Macron harshly criticized Johnson’s way of doing things. “I am surprised by methods that are not serious – said the president on the sidelines of his official visit to Rome -. Leaders do not communicate with each other with tweets and letters made public. We are not whistleblowers. ”Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin also declared that the Prime Minister’s letter“ is unacceptable and counterproductive ”and has damaged the dialogue between partners. The French government has interpreted Johnson’s words as a way of blaming France for the arrival of thousands of migrants.
Even more harsh are the tones used by Gabriel Attal, official spokesman for the Elysée, who defined the content of the letter as “mediocre” and added in a provocative tone that “it is as if Johnson regretted having left Europe, because as soon as he he has a problem, he believes it is Europe’s job to solve it. “Attal, however, launched a constructive proposal:” The British should send immigration officials to France to examine asylum applications in Great Britain on French territory. “
Still room for a negotiation
Paris has therefore not completely closed the door to collaboration with London, but has made it clear that the British attitude will have to change. “Our ministers will work seriously to solve a serious problem with serious people,” Macron said. If the British decide to be serious, we will see with them how to act as efficiently as possible ».