Macron ‘to step up pressure’ after blasting British ‘hypocrisy’ for migrant drownings

The 44-year-old French leader who is gearing up for the upcoming French polls accused politicians in London of hypocrisy. Mr. Macron is pushing the proposal as a way to break the deadlock over the Channel migrant crisis.

As part of any deal, Britain would want France and other EU countries to accept back Channel migrants rejected by Britain because they should have claimed asylum in “safe” EU states.

Speaking to a regional newspaper in northern France, Mr Macron said: “The responsibility for those who die at sea does not fall upon France but upon this British refusal.”

Repeating a widespread French view that the migrant camps along the Channel coast would disappear only when the UK opened its borders, he said: “The British must articulate their needs in terms of the economy and reopen a path to legal asylum requests.

“We are going to step up the pressure.”

A news report by The Telegraph claimed that a record 1,347 migrants crossed the Channel in January, six times the number in January last year.

It follows a record 28,400 crossings last year.

On Tuesday, figures showed 45 percent of crossings were stopped by France in both 2020 and 2021 despite the UK paying France more than £100 million and promising a further £54 million to stem the surge.

After 27 migrants drowned in November, Mr Johnson requested Macron to take back those who had entered Britain illegally, saying it would dissuade migrants from risking their lives in dinghies.

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Defending its attempts to reduce the number of attempted crossings to the UK, the French presidency said “unprecedented work” had been done in Calais, with only around 700 migrants currently in the town because of relocations, border checks and a crackdown on people-smugglers.