London: Britain’s government announced plans for its own talks on the Channel migration crisis with European ministers this week as it was frozen out of a crisis meeting in France.
Home secretary Priti Patel was barred from a recent meeting in Calais after Prime Minister Boris Johnson published the text of a letter to French President Emmanuel Macron setting out London’s demands for concerted action.
But following the tragic drownings of 27 people in the Channel last week, she tweeted: “I will be holding urgent talks with my European counterparts this week to prevent further tragedies in the Channel.”
There was no immediate comment from Patel’s interior ministry on the venue or timing of the talks. But Patel used a commentary piece in the Sun newspaper to spell out the need for joint action, and for tougher UK legislation, as she comes under pressure in right-wing media and from her own Conservative party to get a grip on the crisis.
France sought help from its European neighbors to crack down on Channel people-smuggling gangs, with interior minister Gerald Darmanin saying he could “not accept” any more deaths.
Ministers responsible for immigration from France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium convened in the northern French port of Calais.