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UK News: Macron blames Britain for migrant deaths in English Channel

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Emmanuel Macron has blamed Britain for migrant deaths in the English Channel and demanded a sign of 'good faith' over fishing licences in a blistering attack at the European Parliament.

As France took over the presidency of the EU today, Macron accused London of putting lives at danger because of its migration policy, with thousands trying to make the perilous journey across the Channel in dinghies.

The French president said current rules encourage illegal migration and do not allow for asylum seekers to seek lawful ways into the country, pushing migrants to attempt the treacherous crossing instead.

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His comments come as it was revealed today that nearly 1,000 migrants have arrived in the UK already this year, after 168 landed in Dover yesterday.

Macron, addressing Parliament in Strasbourg at the start of the six-month presidency, also said that Britain and the EU must find a 'path of trust' in the post-Brexit era in a reference to the ongoing dispute over fishing licences.

But he said the EU required a government in London that acts in 'good faith' and live up to agreements with the bloc.

'Nothing will call into question the bond of friendship which connects us to our British friends', Macron said.

French President Emmanuel Macron (pictured addressing the European parliament in Strasbourg today) has blamed Britain for migrant deaths in English Channel and demanded a sign of 'good faith' over fishing licences in a blistering attack as France today took over the presidency of the European Union © Provided by Daily Mail French President Emmanuel Macron (pictured addressing the European parliament in Strasbourg today) has blamed Britain for migrant deaths in English Channel and demanded a sign of 'good faith' over fishing licences in a blistering attack as France today took over the presidency of the European Union Macron said the situation of migrants risking their lives trying to reach Britain by crossing the Channel from France in dinghies would not change as long as London does not adjust its migration policy © Provided by Daily Mail Macron said the situation of migrants risking their lives trying to reach Britain by crossing the Channel from France in dinghies would not change as long as London does not adjust its migration policy

Macron's comments come after six boats were intercepted by Border Force officials and brought to the Port of Dover on Tuesday, according to the Home Office.

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One small boat carrying dozens of people, including children, came perilously close to a P&O ferry while making the dangerous journey across the Channel - the world's busiest shipping lane.

Meanwhile, French authorities intercepted three further crossings involving 126 people.

And this morning 25 people were escorted into the Port of Dover on board a Border Force vessel shortly before 9am.


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The latest crossings bring the total number of migrants arriving in the UK by small boats to nearly 1,000 already this year.

Last year saw a record 28,381 people cross the Channel in small boats. But it was not until mid-February when the number of migrant crossings reached 1,000.

Officials have told Home Secretary Priti Patel that 65,000 people could cross the Channel in 2022 – more than double last year's total.

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The sinking of a boat in November last year which resulted in the death of 27 people prompted emergency talks between London and Paris as they sought to hammer out an agreement to stop the crossings.

But earlier this month the Home Office 'gave up' on achieving a deal ahead of the French Presidential election in April amid a rumbling dispute between Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Macron over a number of issues including Brexit fishing rights.

French fishermen claim that they are entitled to licences under the terms of the trade deal with the EU, and have staged repeated protests including blocking access to ports on the Continent.

However, Britain insists only boats that provide evidence they were using the waters before Brexit happened need to be given permission.

The dispute ramped up before Christmas with French fleets threatening to blockade Christmas goods from reaching Britain despite a number of extra licences being granted to French boats in early December.

Macron, 44, also told EU lawmakers today that Britain and the EU must find a 'path of trust' in the post-Brexit era in a reference to the ongoing dispute over fishing licences  © Provided by Daily Mail Macron, 44, also told EU lawmakers today that Britain and the EU must find a 'path of trust' in the post-Brexit era in a reference to the ongoing dispute over fishing licences

Macron made several pleas during his speech in Strasbourg today, calling for the bloc to hold a 'frank dialogue' with Russia and seek a political solution to the tensions over Ukraine.

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He said EU countries must also define among themselves a 'new stability and security order' that they would then discuss with Moscow.

'The security of our continent is indivisible', Macron said, referring to Russia.

A proponent of the EU having its own 'strategic autonomy' in the field of defence, Macron added that the bloc must bring itself to a position to make sure 'it can be respected,' including by making sure it is not too dependent on Russia for its energy supplies.

Separately, Macron said the EU must review its relationships with the Western Balkans and offer them sincere prospects of joining the bloc.

The EU must also propose a new alliance to African countries, he said, adding that EU and African countries would discuss it at a summit in February.

Macron made several pleas during his speech in Strasbourg today, calling for the bloc to hold a 'frank dialogue' with Russia and seek a political solution to the tensions over Ukraine © Provided by Daily Mail Macron made several pleas during his speech in Strasbourg today, calling for the bloc to hold a 'frank dialogue' with Russia and seek a political solution to the tensions over Ukraine Read more

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