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World: France says it will not be held hostage by British politics on migration

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By Juliette Jabkhiro and Noemie Olive

Meeting in response to cross-Channel migration, in Calais © Reuters/POOL Meeting in response to cross-Channel migration, in Calais

CALAIS, France (Reuters) -France is ready for a serious discussion with Britain on issues relating to illegal migration, but will not be held hostage to London's domestic politics, the country's Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said.

Meeting in response to cross-Channel migration, in Calais © Reuters/POOL Meeting in response to cross-Channel migration, in Calais

The two countries are already at loggerheads over post-Brexit trading rules and fishing rights and last week relations soured further after 27 people died trying to cross the Channel.

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson wrote to President Emmanuel Macron setting out five steps the two countries could take to deter migrants from making the perilous journey. One of those - sending illegal migrants back to France - particularly angered Paris.

France responded by cancelling an invitation to British Interior Minister Priti Patel to attend a meeting on Sunday with European counterparts to discuss the issue after Johnson published the letter on Twitter.

Meeting in response to cross-Channel migration, in Calais © Reuters/POOL Meeting in response to cross-Channel migration, in Calais

"Britain left Europe, but not the World. We need to work seriously on these questions ... without being held hostage by domestic British politics," Darmanin told reporters after meeting his Belgian, German and Dutch counterparts in Calais.

Migrant boat capsizes in English Channel; at least 31 dead

  Migrant boat capsizes in English Channel; at least 31 dead CALAIS, France (AP) — At least 31 migrants bound for Britain died Wednesday when their boat sank in the English Channel, in what France’s interior minister called the biggest migration tragedy on the dangerous crossing to date. Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said 34 people were believed to have been on the boat. Authorities found 31 bodies — including those of five women and a young girl — and two survivors, he said. One person appeared to still be missing. The nationalities of the travelers was not immediately known. © Provided by Associated Press French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin answers the press in Calais, northern France, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021.

Meeting in response to cross-Channel migration, in Calais © Reuters/POOL Meeting in response to cross-Channel migration, in Calais

He added that London's tone in private was not the same as in public.

France had been handling the issue of illegal migration to Britain for 25 years and it was now time London woke up, Darmanin said.

"If migrants are coming to Calais, Dunkirk or northern France, it's because they are attracted by England, especially the labour market which means you can work in England without any identification," he said.

"Britain must take its responsibility and limit its economic attractiveness."

Britain needs France's cooperation to curb the flow of migrants escaping war and poverty over the English Channel from Europe, health minister Sajid Javid said on Sunday, defending Johnson's letter.

Little was agreed at Sunday's meeting with his European partners beyond further cooperation between police, but the European Border and Coast Guard Agency agreed to provide a plane from Dec. 1 to monitor France's northern coastline, Darmanin added.

Channel deaths fuel UK-France tensions over migrant boats

  Channel deaths fuel UK-France tensions over migrant boats LONDON (AP) — The deaths of at least 27 people in the English Channel is fueling tensions between the U.K. and France over how to stop migrants from crossing the world’s busiest waterway in small boats. Despite a pledge from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron that they would “do everything possible” to stop people smugglers from endangering lives, politicians on both sides of the channel are already blaming their counterparts for failing to prevent Wednesday's tragedy.

Meeting in response to cross-Channel migration, in Calais © Reuters/POOL Meeting in response to cross-Channel migration, in Calais

(Writing by John Irish; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

A Brazilian town empties as migration to U.S. accelerates .
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