France will not accept Britain’s violation of international shipping law or any “financial blackmail,” French Interior Minister Gerald Darmannan said Thursday as London stepped up its efforts to prevent migrants from crossing the Channel.
“France will not accept any practices that violate the navigation law, nor any financial blackmail,” Darmanan wrote on Twitter. “Britain’s commitments must be honored. I made it clear to my counterpart” Priti Patel during Wednesday’s meeting.
Patel had met with his French counterpart, Interior Minister Gerald Darmannan, for talks on the migrant crisis, but the two sides failed to agree on new measures.
After the meeting, some newspapers reported that the government was considering allowing border guard officials to push back the boats and said that while the potential idea had been approved by the government, the operational details were not yet final.
Tackling the smuggling of people
More than 1,500 migrants have crossed the Channel in boat so far this week and the UK government has said it must use every possible tactic at its disposal to tackle human trafficking.
According to the Daily Telegraph, Patel has obtained legal advice that allows ships to divert small boats away from British waters.
The English Channel is one of the busiest and most dangerous sea routes in the world, with many migrants from some of the poorest and most chaotic regions in the world and many in seek asylum once collected by the British authorities.
In July, the UK and France struck a deal to try to reduce the number of migrants in transit, with the UK promising to pay France 54.2 million pounds in change of additional measures such as doubling the number of coastal patrols.
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