France And Britain Facing Difficult Negotiations Over Deadly Illegal Migrant Crossings Of English Channel

France and the UK have had a sometimes complicated relationship for centuries. Since the UK’s Brexit election led to its withdrawal from the European Union, new tensions have developed between the two generally allied nations.

A wave of illegal and dangerous migration across the English Channel from France into Britain has led to some tense public posturing. In the mix with the conflict between the two nations following Brexit overfishing and trade rights in the Channel, 27 people died last week attempting to cross illegally to the UK.

Last week, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said that the country is prepared to enter into serious discussions about the illegal crossings but said that France would not “be held hostage” to British domestic policy.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has given French President Emmanuel Macron an outline of measures the two nations could agree to take to prevent migrants from attempting the hazardous channel crossing. The French government was incredibly hostile to Johnson’s suggestion that the UK send illegal migrants back to France.

In response to Johnson publishing his proposal on Twitter, Macron canceled an initiation previously given to Interior Minister Priti Patel to meet with EU member nation representatives to discuss the migration issue.

After that meeting with representatives from Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands, Darmanin said that Britain left the EU, “but not the world.” He added that France wanted to work on migration without being “held hostage” to UK politics. The parties to the meeting agreed that the European Border and Coast Guard would provide a plane to monitor the northern French coast beginning December 1.

He went on to say that France has been dealing with illegal migration to the UK “for 25 years” and that it was time that Britain “woke up.” He said that the illegal migrants who make their way to northern France are attracted by the lure of crossing over to Britain. Darmanin said that Britain must “limit its economic attractiveness” about the easy work requirements in England. Migrants are typically allowed to work in the UK with shoddy or no legal identification.

The UK Health Minister Sajid Javid said Sunday that his country needs cooperation from France to slow the crossings of migrants “escaping war and poverty.”