Speaking to reporters in Paris, the Tory Minister stressed France and the UK should work together in their fight against illegal smuggling of migrants in the English Channel regardless of whether Britain is in the European Union or not. He said: “Policing borders is always a shared responsibility between two nation states and I think the discussions we had today were in exactly that spirit.
“Any two countries, whether they’re in the European Union or not, need to work together to police their borders and it is in precisely that spirit that France and the United Kingdom are working together to make sure this border is policed.”
He added: “We are looking at all the options that are necessary to make sure this route is completely cut down.”
The comments come after officials on both sides of the Channel appeared worried Emmanuel Macron could scupper a last-minute Brexit trade deal between the EU and the UK over the issue of migrants.
The two nations have already been locking horns over fishing rights, one of the negotiations’ controversial point of contention.
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On Monday, Boris Johnson’s official spokesperson has said the Government will ensure the UK’s “status as an independent coastal state is properly respected” from next year.
When quizzed how Britain will prevent illegal fishing in UK waters, the Downing Street official said: “We will ensure whatever agreement we reach with the EU on fishing rights, or indeed if we are unable to reach one, we will make sure our status as an independent coastal state is properly respected.”
Sources claim that the French president could “scupper an agreement” at the last minute if he believes that a deal does not go in his favour.
A UK government official added to Bloomberg: “The EU continues to insist on access to UK fishing waters in a way that is incompatible with our future status as an independent coastal state.”
French officials claim that Macron could think there are “votes to be had in standing up to the British” in a bid to save his mandate ahead of the next Presidential elections.
He is hoping to regain some support following a visit by German Chancellor Angela Merkel who is planning to visit President Macron at his summer residence on the Mediterranean around August 20th.
Last week, the French President demanded the UK pays £30 million to France to police the English Channel to bring down the flow migrants coming to the UK in boats across the Channel.
Speaking to Sky News, Mr Philp said the French today agreed to appoint their own commander “to take responsibility in this area”. Something he claimed was a “very important step forward”.
“French authorities are doing a great deal of work. They’ve intercepted well over a thousand people so far this year,” he added.
“But the sheer numbers crossing the Channel are completely unacceptable to the French Government and unacceptable to the UK Government so it’s quite clear that more needs to be done.