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Emmanuel Macron 'lost his temper' with Boris Johnson in 'irate' phone call on Covid rules

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Leaders in Europe could finally unite in the fight against coronavirus as 24 countries call for a COVID-19 treaty. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, France’s Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are among those who have warned the pandemic has been a “stark and painful reminder that nobody is safe until everyone is safe”. In a co-signed letter, world leaders called for a new treaty for pandemic preparedness and response to tackle future health crises. It read: “Today we hold the same hope that, as we fight to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic together, we can build a more robust international health architecture that will protect future generations.

“We believe that nations should work together towards a new international treaty for pandemic preparedness and response.

“Such a renewed collective commitment would be a milestone in stepping up pandemic preparedness at the highest political level.”

Mr Macron in particular has clashed with Mr Johnson during the pandemic.

As COVID-19 began to sweep through Europe in March 2020, the French President had a tense phone call with the Prime Minister.

By March 20, there had been 50 confirmed deaths but just 700 positive tests – an indication of the UK’s poor tracing system.

After London Mayor Sadiq Khan had already urged the Prime Minister to take action, it was then the turn of the French President.

As highlighted in ‘Failures of State’ by Jonathan Calvert and George Arbuthnott, Mr Macron called Mr Johnson.

The French leader was was described as “irate” and had reportedly become “impatient with the UK” for not locking down as France had done.

Details of the conversation were leaked to the French newspaper Liberation.

Its report said: “Macron loses his temper on Friday morning. He calls Boris Johnson. ‘Look here, our police have been instructed to close the border with the UK… Everything is ready to go unless you announce measures to fight the pandemic.”

READ MORE: Macron on brink as President ‘declared war on French people’

The French President said that the “problematic virus mutation” identified in southern England caused the UK “to take exceptional decisions on Saturday and accelerate the measure of closures and constraint”.

Mr Johnson had another phone call with his French counterpart in late December, as the border closure had caused chaos in Dover.

With queues of trucks snaking in England and some supermarket shelves stripped just days before Christmas, the UK sought a deal with France.

A deal was reached with Paris to allow French and other EU residents to return home, providing they have a negative Covid test that is less than 72 hours old.



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