U.K. seeks ‘urgent’ migrant talks with Europe after French snub

Priti Patel.   | Photo Credit: Jessica Taylor

Britain’s government on Sunday announced plans for its own talks on the Channel migration crisis with European Ministers this week as it was frozen out of a crisis meeting in France.

Home Secretary Priti Patel was barred from Sunday’s meeting in Calais, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson published the text of a letter to French President Emmanuel Macron setting out London’s demands for concerted action.

Also Read: Channel deaths fuel U.K.-France tensions

But following the tragic drownings of 27 people in the Channel last Wednesday, she tweeted: “I will be holding urgent talks with my European counterparts this week to prevent further tragedies in the Channel.”

There was no immediate comment from Ms. Patel’s Interior Ministry on the venue or timing of the talks.

But Ms. Patel used a commentary piece in the Sun on Sunday newspaper to spell out the need for joint action, and for tougher U.K. legislation, as she comes under pressure in right-wing media and from her own Conservative party to get a grip on the crisis.

“There is still so much more we can do and I am sorry not to be at a meeting with European ministerial counterparts today to discuss this pressing issue,” she wrote in the tabloid.

“We need to be creative about finding new solutions that will have the maximum possible impact, which is why the prime minister and I stand ready to discuss proposals with our French counterparts at any time,” Ms. Patel said.

“And I know from my discussions with my European partners in recent days and weeks that there is more that can be done. Together, we can break up the people-smuggling gangs and save lives —but we must act now.”

Ministers from France, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium met in the French port of Calais on Sunday, following the deaths of the 27 Iraqi Kurds and others as they attempted to cross from France to England in a fragile dinghy.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2022 5:56:56 PM |

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