France and the United Kingdom have been once again dragged into debating each other’s role in containing and managing the flow of migrant boats across the Channel. Britain has demanded Paris invest more to ensure the presence of sufficient Border Patrol officials to return vessels trying to enter the UK to their departure points across the French coast. But speaking to France 3 Hauts-de-France, the Mayor of Calais Natacha Bouchart warned Boris Johnson the UK’s conduct in recent days is tantamount to having declared “maritime war” on France.
Ms Bouchart said: “Yes, it is a declaration of maritime war.
“The British are creating this call for air themselves by not wanting to review their reception arrangements, by contenting themselves with giving lessons and by subjecting Calaisians to this situation for too long.”
The Calais mayor also insisted the UK should focus its attention in reviewing its migration policies as she warned the citizens of Calais remain opposed to forced returns to France from Britain.
She continued: “It’s like arm-wrestling, it’s what they’re used to doing.
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“Technically, I don’t even see how they can achieve this. And I think the Government will be opposed. In any case, we are are opposed here.
“But rather than accepting migrants who work illegally – this is in fact their future in England – rather than giving lessons, it would be better than tabling legal texts to review reception conditions in their country.”
Home Secretary Priti Patel at the weekend suggested she would ask the Department of Defence to deploy the Royal Navy in the Channel to monitor the British coast and prevent the docking of migrant vessels.
The Home Secretary insisted she wanted to make the English Channel path “unviable” as she insisted the UK was committed to putting an end to the criminal network facilitating the arrival of new boats.
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“We are going to be working at pace in the coming days to make that plan a reality.”
The UK is bound by the EU Dublin III Regulation which set out the responsibilities of member states in regards to asylum seeking until the end of the Brexit transition period.
Former French Ambassador Gérard Araud pointed out London will need to renegotiate its current migratory checks arrangements with Paris after the Dublin III regulations lapses in December 2020.
Mr Araud responded to Ms Patel’s demands for additional French help on Twitter: “Actually, Madam Secretary, as you may know, the cooperation with France was enshrined in the EU rules.
“You’ll have to negotiate a new treaty with your neighbor.”