- On Friday, the United Kingdom announced that it has agreed to pay $576 million to France over the next three years in an effort to combat the issue of illegal immigration across the English Channel.
- During a joint summit in Paris on Friday, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron announced the agreement. According to a joint statement from the two countries, the funds will be allocated towards constructing a new detention center for migrants in France and deploying 500 French security and support agents to quickly identify attempted crossings by small boats.
- During Friday’s meeting, the two leaders emphasized the strong connection between their countries, which has been strained in recent years due to post-Brexit negotiations, fishing rights, the submarine deal with Australia, and immigration. Macron praised the plan, stating that “the level of ambition of this plan is exactly what we need,” and emphasizing that the agreement is not just between the UK and France, but also between the UK and the EU.
- In contrast, Sunak has faced criticism from human rights groups over his efforts to curb cross-channel immigration through a new law that has been criticized as being racist, illegal, and unworkable. However, Sunak maintained that the UK will always abide by its international treaty obligations.
- The United Kingdom has experienced an increase in the number of illegal migrants who pay human trafficking gangs to transport them into the country via small, non-seaworthy boats, resulting in numerous boat accidents and fatalities.
- While the 19-page joint statement issued by the Elysee Palace highlighted the potential for increased defense cooperation between the two nuclear powers, including the deployment of fighter jets on each other’s aircraft carriers and the joint production of future cruise missiles, the leaders also discussed the need for closer collaboration regarding Ukraine.
- In particular, they pledged to work more closely together to provide equipment and munitions to Kyiv, while offering to support the training of Ukrainian marines in the UK. The joint statement also stated that the leaders would pursue security guarantees with Ukraine to help them defend themselves in the long-term and deter potential future attacks.
- The French Interior Minister, Gérald Darmanin, has called for negotiations to begin on a migration treaty between the European Union and Britain. He also urged the UK government to follow through on its commitment to finance the crackdown on migrants who gather on the northern French coast in an attempt to enter England.
- Darmanin emphasized the need for a treaty to address migration issues, which was not included in the Brexit negotiations led by Michel Barnier. France, which will take over the EU’s rotating presidency in January, will champion the project, according to the Interior Minister. Barnier, who is now running for president in France, served as the EU’s chief negotiator during the difficult talks on a deal to cover relations with the UK after its departure from the EU. Darmanin made these remarks during a visit to Loon-Plage, a town on the northern French coast.
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