Macron slams Priti Patel for migrant deaths in the English Channel

The French President has demanded a sign of 'good faith' from the UK government in the fishing licences row.


Emmanuel Macron has spoken out against the UK government's migration policy, blaming Britain for migrant deaths in the English Channel.

Speaking at the European Parliament on Wednesday, the French president has accused Priti Patel's current rules of encouraging illegal migration.

Macron's comments coincided with France taking over the presidency of the EU and he urged that "nothing will call into question the bond of friendship which connects us to our British friends."

Emmanuel Macron said "Ultimately we cannot solve that problem if the way in which migratory flows are seen from the British side doesn’t change.

“Our British friends at the moment are trying to adopt an approach which is the one that prevailed at the start of the 80s where you’ve got a level of acceptable economic illegal migration. You allow people to work without papers because it’s helpful to the economy, but that doesn’t face the reality of migratory flows now.

“Secondly, there need to be legal, stable routes to be able to migrate to the UK and this is a situation that we’re confronted with. This is a dialogue that we need to pursue with the UK. It’s a horrendous humanitarian situation, but that’s the reality.”

The French president said Britain and EU should find a "path of trust" post-Brexit to resolve their dispute over fishing licences, addressing Parliament in Strasbourg at the start of the six-month presidency.

This comes after reports that nearly 1,000 migrants have entered the UK in January, with 168 landing in Dover on Tuesday.

The French president blames UK government policy for stopping as asylum seekers from seeking lawful ways into Britain, causing migrants to attempt the dangerous crossing in small boats instead.

The Home Office confirmed that six boats were intercepted by Border Force officials on Tuesday and brought to the Port of Dover.

French authorities intercepted three further crossings involving 126 people.

In 2021 a record 28,381 people crossed the English Channel in small boats.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has been warned by officials that 65,000 people could attempt to cross the Channel in 2022.