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French president Macron invites Boris Johnson for talks in Paris

President Emmanuel Macron has invited new British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to see him in France "in the next few weeks," an official at the Elysee palace said.

French president Macron invites Boris Johnson for talks in Paris
Photo: AFP

Macron extended the invitation in a call late Thursday to Johnson from his official summer vacation residence in the south of France.

In the call, Macron congratulated Johnson on becoming prime minister and emphasised Franco-British cooperation on bilateral, European and international issues, the official said.

Brexit looms over those cross-Channel ties.

Johnson on Thursday told British lawmakers he has urged the EU to “rethink” its opposition to renegotiating a deal worked out with his predecessor Theresa May that he has called unacceptable.

If it did not, he warned, he would withdraw Britain from the EU without a deal, and spoke of plans to “turbo-charge” preparations to do so on the latest Brexit deadline of October 31.

France's Europe Minister Amélie de Montchalin said: “France does not want a no-deal Brexit, but we are well aware that this is a possibility. We are prepared.”

 

The European Union has rejected Johnson's push.

Macron has emerged as one of the EU leaders most willing to see Britain leave soon, without a deal if it chooses, so as not to threaten EU stability and unity.

Separately from Macron's invitation, Johnson is expected to go to France in a month to attend a G7 summit in the oceanside city of Biarritz on August 24-26.

READ ALSO: 'An incompetent jester' – France delivers its verdict on Boris Johnson

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TRAVEL NEWS

Amber alert: Travellers to France warned of another busy weekend at UK ports

A week after chaotic scenes and 6-hour queues at the port of Dover, the British motoring organisation the AA has issued an amber traffic warning, and says it expects cross-Channel ports to be very busy once again this weekend as holidaymakers head to France.

Amber alert: Travellers to France warned of another busy weekend at UK ports

The AA issued the amber warning on Thursday for the whole of the UK, the first time that it has issued this type of warning in advance.

Roads across the UK are predicted to be extremely busy due to a combination of holiday getaways, several large sporting events and a rail strike – but the organisation said that it expected traffic to once again be very heavy around the port of Dover and the Channel Tunnel terminal at Folkestone.

Last weekend there was gridlock in southern England and passengers heading to France enduring waits of more than six hours at Dover, and four hours at Folkestone.

The AA said that while it doesn’t expect quite this level of chaos to be repeated, congestion was still expected around Dover and Folkestone.

On Thursday ferry operator DFDS was advising passengers to allow two hours to get through check-in and border controls, while at Folkestone, the Channel Tunnel operators only said there was a “slightly longer than usual” wait for border controls.

In both cases, passengers who miss their booked train or ferry while in the queue will be accommodated on the next available crossing with no extra charge.

Last weekend was the big holiday ‘getaway’ weekend as schools broke up, and a technical fault meant that some of the French border control team were an hour late to work, adding to the chaos. 

But the underlying problems remain – including extra checks needed in the aftermath of Brexit, limited space for French passport control officers at Dover and long lorry queues on the motorway heading to Folkestone.

OPINION UK-France travel crisis will only be solved when the British get real about Brexit

The port of Dover expects 140,000 passengers, 45,000 cars and 18,000 freight vehicles between Thursday and Sunday, and queues were already starting to build on Thursday morning.

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