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France summons UK to emergency meeting in days – panic across EU at migrant chaos

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BBC Europe Editor Katya Adler has suggested the situation is becoming desperate for France. She said in the post: “France has invited ministers in charge of immigration from neighbouring Belgium, Netherlands, Germany as well as U.K. and European Commission to meet in Calais on Sunday to discuss tackling people smuggling + deterring the desperate from getting on flimsy boats across #Channel.”

The news comes following the deaths of at least 27 migrants as they tried to cross the English Channel this week.

A war of words has erupted between Paris and London over the tragic incident.

French President Emmanuel Macron has said: “France will not let the Channel become a graveyard.”

Adding to the urgent situation, Home Secretary Priti Patel has called for international cooperation on the crisis.

In a statement following the deaths, the Home Secretary said on Twitter: “I have reached out again to France to offer cooperation on joint patrols, to put a stop to these lethal journeys.”

She added: “Our Nationality & Borders Bill will address many of the pull factors for people crossing the Channel.”

Ms Patel also stressed the importance of wider cooperation.

She also said on Twitter: “We will continue to intensify all cooperation with France and other European partners to prevent migrants embarking on these deadly journeys.”

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But French Prime Minister Jean Castex sought to shift the blame from France by saying that most migrants heading for the Channel were only briefly on its territory.

Five people smugglers arrested following the disaster were stopped at the border with Belgium and had bought some of their equipment in Germany.

With the problem seemingly stemming Europe-wide, the French PM said: “It is, therefore, a problem requiring an intergovernmental and European approach.”

Mr Castex has invited immigration ministers from the UK, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and the EU to the Calais summit.

The UK has extended £54million in financial support but has made its frustration clear with Paris that so many people are still finding a way across.

Ms Patel said Britain was ready to offer joint patrols as well as more intelligence cooperation and “enhanced surveillance”.

She said: “We absolutely encourage them and urge them to take these offers forward.”

France has previously rejected joint patrols and the idea was met with derision by some French politicians who claim their sovereignty will be breached by doing so.

President Emmanuel Macron, who is up for re-election next year, insisted that French security forces were “mobilised day and night” on its northern coast.

He said hundreds of attempted departures for Britain were stopped on Wednesday through a combination of drones and army reservists.

Despite the disaster, more migrants continued to attempt the crossing on Thursday, with some arriving on lifeboats on the English coast.



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