France cancels migrant crisis meeting with UK in protest at Johnson letter

French interior minister Gérald Darmanin.
French interior minister Gérald Darmanin. Photo: Francois Lo Presti/AFP
French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin told UK counterpart Priti Patel on Friday he was scrapping planned weekend talks with her, in protest at a letter made public by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the migrant crisis.

In a message seen by AFP, Darmanin told Patel the letter from Johnson to President Emmanuel Macron suggesting France takes back migrants who cross the Channel was a “disappointment.”

He added: “Making it public made it even worse. I therefore need to cancel our meeting in Calais on Sunday.”

The letter from the British PM to French president Emmanuel Macron makes a list of demands, including that British officers patrol French beaches and that France agrees to take back people whose asylum claims have failed.

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In the wake of the tragedy in the Channel on Wednesday in which at least 27 people, including three children, drowned, Macron had convened an emergency meeting of French, British, Belgian, Dutch and German ministers in Calais.

A source close to Darmanin told AFP that the meeting would be going ahead with the ministers from other European countries but added Patel was no longer invited after Johnson’s “unacceptable” letter.

“We consider the British Prime Minister’s public letter to be unacceptable and contrary to the discussions we had with our counterparts,” said the source, who asked not to be named.

“Therefore, Priti Patel is no longer invited to the interministerial meeting on Sunday, which is maintained in the format of France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and the European Commission.”

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Member comments

  1. So, France thinks it will be more productive to talk to themselves. Yes, Boris published his suggestions – it’s called transparency.

    1. No, it’s called not being diplomatic. Just shows what a buffoon your court jester is to use Twitter as a means to communicate to a President of a country. You do realise that he only did it for the benefit of the British guttersnipe press and the clientele of “Spoons”.

      Just what is there to talk about? If they want to leave, why should we stop them. It’s certainly no advantage to us to stop them. It’s just a pity my friends in the North can no longer sell them anymore inflatables.

      1. I think diplomacy is in pretty short supply in Paris. In just the last couple of months France has managed to fall out with UK, USA, Australia, Mali, Turkey, Algeria, Morocco, Jersey, Poland and Hungary. The odd thing is that it’s always their ‘friends and partners’ that France likes to act tough with. Soft targets I suppose.

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